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Paper - F 

M Theory of Music - 1 


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Paper 1. 
Theory of Music - 1. 
Fundamental Concept of Music 
Package - 1. 


Dear Student 

W.w«.oon« ,o. M »..ud», or the Fits. Year B.A. Dcgiee 

Course in Indian Music. 

, i fV, Paner 1 Theory of Music- 1. Funda- 

mental Concept of Music, wmm , 
year of the Course. 

«h.t learning through correspondence 

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Paper I Theory of Music^-I 
Fundamental Concepts of Music 

I. Music and its three main aspects— (a) Svara (melodic) (b) Tala 
(time measure (c) Pada (Verbal). 

II. Melodic aspect- 
fa) Technical terms: Nada, Sthayi, Svara, Svarasthana. Sruti r 

Vadi, Saravadi, Vivadi, and Anuvadi. 

(b) Svara nomenclature — Twelve svarasthana s and sixteen 

(c) (i) Concept of Raga : Importance and scope of ragas. 

(ii) Classification of Ragas — The scheme of 72 melakartas; 
Kanakangi ~ Ratnangi nomenclatuie : Katapayadi 
Sankhya and its application : Bhuta sankhya : Vivadi 
and Non— Vivadi melakartas. 

(iii) Classification of ragas into Janaka and Janya. Classifi- 
cation ot Janya ragas into — Sampurna — Varja; Krama- 
Vakra; Upanga — Bhashanga : Nishadantya, Dhaiva- 
tantya and Panchamantya. 

(iv) Lakshanas of the following ragas : (1) Mayawalava- 
gaula (2) Sriranjani. (3) Mohana, (4) Sankara- 
tsharanam, (5) Hamsadhvani, (6) Sbanmukbapriya. 

III. Tala aspect— 

(a) Technical terms, Aksharakala, Avarta, Kriya, Laya, 
Graha (eduppu) 

(b) Sapta talas and the scheme of 35 talas. Chaputala and 
its varieties. Desadi and Madhyadi talas. 

IV. Notation used in Indian Music. An outline knowledge of staff 
notation. Ability to reproduce in notation the compositions 
lr hi nt in l hf! rngiiN proNuribod for Itujja I.nkHluimi. 

4 701 

V. Harmony, Melody and Polyphony. 

VI. Pada aspect (Verbal)— 

Technical terms ; Pada; Praasa-Adi and Antya; Anupraasa 
Yati, Yamaka, Padaccheda;5ManipravaIa sahitya; Svarakshara 
and Gopuccha alankaras. 

Ill - Scheme of Lessons 


1 - Music and its three main aspects 

(a) Svara (melodic,; (b) Tala (time measure), (c) Pada 

2. Melodic Aspect-^ 

(a) Technical terms : Nada, Sthayi, Svara; Svarasthana, 
Sruti, Vadl, Saravadi, Vivadi, and Anuvadi- 

(b) Svara nomenclature— Twelve 

3. Concept of Raga : Importance scope and classification of 
ragas. Classification of Ragas - The scheme of .72 mela- 
kartas; Kanakangi-Ratnangi nomenclature; Katapayadi 
Sankbya and its application : Bhuta sankhy*, vivadi and 
Non-rvivadi mclakartas. 

4. Classification of ragas into Junaka and Jajiya. Classi- 
fication of Junyii riigai into - Sampurnavarja; Krama- 
vakra; Upiin^a - Bhashaiiga; Nisbadantya, Dhaivalaatya 
and Pniicliumuntya. 

5. I ukHliiuiim of the following ragas : (J) Mayamslava gaula, 
(2) Siiraiijitni, (3) Mohana, (4) Sankarabharanam, (5) 
llnmsiullivaui, (6) Shanmukhapriya. 

<i Tula aspect— 

(ii) Technical torn*' Akulmiakala, Avarla, Kjriya Laya, 
(irahii (cdiippu) 



a the scheme of35talaS. Chaputala 

7 . station used in ^^usic. An ^ outn £ 
of staff notauon. AbUUy v ibed for Raga 

compositions learnt m the ragas V 


g. Harmony, Melody and Polyphony 
9 Pada aspect (verbal)- 


„, , Mrni0 „ materials contains all 
This Pachage »I "f""^ „{ kssoas. 
tht noe lessoa. as per the scBem 



Music and its Three Main Aspects 

We know Music as one of the Arts. There are : different kinds 
r«l in l like, Painting, Dance, .Drama, Sculpture, poetry arid Music. 
Wli:it are the Arts? And how are they different from other activities 
like, say, cooking, car driving, carpentry, learning physics and 

The aim of art lies in activities wfcueb.ate not intended to 
achieve an outside goal. But the activity itself is important and the 
enjoyment of the art lies in seeing how beautifully the activity takes 
place. Ihe activity is an end in itself. One may object, any 
activity like cooking or car driving can bz done beautifully. It is 
true that all activities can be done beautifully and we do use the 
expression that a certain work has been done very artistically. But 
e voking or driving, even though done £artistically,-is -nevertheless 
intended to achieve some other object in view IUe preparing food 
for eating or transporting one from one place to another. But 
sculpture, painting, music and the like are activities which do not 
intend to achieve any iuundane benefit and the doing or the perform- 
ing of these arts themselves is the end of these arts. The arts are 
also regarded as an eternal source of delight and entertainment* 
This is because they present structures for perception which delight 
in themselves, without arousing any urge to action or the desire to 
possess them. They provide appearances which please merely by 
appearing They not only delight but wholly absorb the attention 
so that all thought of self is forgotten. 

The art of music has for its material, sound. In music one 
creates with sound a recognisable structure or form. Sound has two 
aspects to it. One is the syllabic aspect which is bestowed on sound by 
" the various parts of the mouth which are touched while producing the 
sound. The other aspect is tnat of the pitch. This causes differences 
in sound due to which one sound is generally said to be 
higher or lower than another or of the same level. It is this 
aspect of the pitch of sound that is made use of in weaving a picture 
with sound. The word 'tone' may be used to designate sound con- 



sidered from the point of view of pitch. The essential characteristics 
of music lies in the tonal structure which is created. In what We call 
classical music it is the beauty of this tonal form that is appreciated- 
And wherever music is employed, as for instances in bhajana, 
marriage songs, film songs, etc., it is this tonal form which is essenti- 
ally present. Apart from this tonal form there are other limbs in 
music, as for instance, the syllabic aspect of sound, which makes up 
meaningful words and meaningless words. Meaningless words are 
met with in forms such as the tillflna. The duration of the tones also 
plays a part in the rhythm. In the different kinds of music the 
emphasis could shift from the tonal structure to the words, meanings 
or rhythm. For instance, in bhajana, the words which are devotional 
in nature are very important and push to the background the tonal 

Svara r 

In the Indian languages the word for music is 'Sangita'. In 
Tamil, the term used is 'IsaiY With reference to sangita it must be 
noted that the term had a different significance in the early period of 
Indian history (before 13th Cent. A.D.) but has gradually come to be 
a synonym of music. The art of a tonal structure which is generally 
designated by the term svara. This term svara, as we shall see later, 
is also used to denote specifically the units of melody. But here it is 
used in a wide and general sense, to refer to the tonal aspect of music. 
By tonal structure is meant the various movements of sound from one 
pitch to another. A pitch may be roughly understood as a particular 
stationary level of sound. The progression from one pitch »o another 
is successive and different pitches are not sounded simultaneously. 
Simultaneous utterance of sounds of differing pitches is found in 
Western music. The {structure woven byjthe sounds uttered successively 
is called melody. The term svaar thus denotes the melodic aspects 
of music in general. Melody is created through the human voice and 
through musical instruments like the vina and nagasvaram. 

Pada : 

The other aspect of music also has its basis in sound, namely the 
words of language which oscur in the soags. Tae term pada denotes 
this aspect of music. Pada and svara are not two different entities 
constituting music but are two different aspects of the same sound 
which serves as the material for music. When we look not at the pitch 
aspect of sound but at the syllables expressed by it, the groups of theie 



(iylliibl%B constitute pada. In speech too we have the two aspects, 'the 
nylljibic' which forms the words and 'the pitch variations' seen in the 
I in in of accents. However the communication of the words and its 
inclining is the main purpose of sound in speech. Pada can be 
meaningful words as well as meaningless. For the most part only 
meaningful words are found to occur in musical compositions. One 
limy ask "If pada and svara are inseparable aspects of sound, whereis 
pada when music is played oa instrument ?" Pada is very much there 
m the melody played on instruments as the plucking, bowing and 
oilier stresses resemble the consonants of the words. The unstressed 
or nnplucked portions could bs taken as vowels. In South Indian 
classical music, there is the tradition of performing on the instrument 
wlint is sung. And in songs mostly meaningful words are employed 
called sahityam and these are mostly devotional in nature, in praise of 
v.irious gods and goddesses. Song texts are in the form of epithets or 
descriptive of the deeds of gods. Sometimes meaningless syllables like 
l.i da ri, tanom tanana, are also employed as seen in alapana and 
nllana. The meaningful words are set in any one of the South Indian 
languages (Tamil, Telugu, Kjnaada, Malayalam) or in Sanskrit. 


The third aspect of music relates to the duration of the sound. 
Sound, too, like other actions takes place in time. And in songs we 
ob icrve that the melody expresses itself in regular pulses or stresses 
i c, sound units of Uniform, finite duration are formed in certain 
patterns. This manifestation of patterns is knoWn as the rhythm or 
laya of the song. And in Indian music, there is also a device by which 
the flow of and this rhythm is regulated and controlled. This device 
is tala and involves certain actions of the hands which create regular 
time signals which keep the rhythm from unintended acceleration or 
deceleration, Certain forms like alapana which do not 'express a 
perceptible rhythm are not accompanied by tala. Thus tala, though it 
is not a permanent feature, is yet an integral part of South Indian 
classical music and represents the third aspects. Apart from regulating 
Jhc flow of music, the tala also creates time units of small and large 
durations against which the duration of music is measured. Usually, 
a fixed section of time is repeated over and over again throughout the 
length of the music and this may bi called a time cycle. The cnlirc 
music or its sections lire measured in terms of so many cycles Or 
ilviirtHH. In (his way t/ila becomes n lime measure Hint till* (lino cycle 
alm> p rt*si*ii is a temporal background or frame work on which the 
melodic it! hum lire it woven. 


Melodic Aspect 

The study of music has two aspects to it. One is the learning 
or training in its performance and the other is gaining knowledge 
about performed music. While the first is commonly called the 
parctical aspects, the second is the theory, j Unlike as in Science 
/subjects such as Physics and Chemistry, where the practical is usually 
/ a demonstration of the observed theoretical deductions, in music, the 
\. parctical is the main art itsen mm theory is a description of it in the 
ii medium of language. And he nce theory always foUowsand also has w 
\to conform to the practicaLT^fhc knowledge of the practical art is 
gain^a~*auectTy^Tn75ug^instruction from a teacher. Theory is an 
attempt to describe the music through the medium of language and 
hence can never be a substitute for orbj understood without the 
knowledge of practical music. Unless one is trained in the art, he will 
be unable to appreciate or understand the theoretical description of it 
And thus, knowledge of the art is an essential pre-requisite for under- 
standing its theory. However the reverse is not true. In other words 
training in the art has to be acquired directly through instruction and 
cannot be obtained through the study of theory. 


Theory, as explained above, involves the description of music 
through the medium of language. In fact the very talking about the 
art is itself theory. And, in an effort to describe music, one has to 
make use of or coin a number of terms and phrases which represent 
or stand for particular activities in music. Even the word .'music' 
is a theoretical term which distinguishes this art from other arts and 
identifies its essential characteristic as residing in the tonal structure. 
And gradually we go on to the analysis of music into different aspects 
and naturally more coin terms to denote the different aspects. Svara, 
pada and tala broadly identify the different aspects of music. These 
have already been explained above. The entire theory of the descri- 
ptionof music can be brought under these three heads. For instance, 
the concept of r aga, the classification of ragas, sangatis, gamakas, 
etc. come Under the svara aspect. The prosodical details like prasa, 
yamaka, and the theme come under the pada aspect. The tala aspect 



pada, The study of muS* "T" *" ^ ™ m ™*> t5 ' a 
composers of various soL7an/ T UdeSthe C °^ b ^n of the 
-tent the biogrXa IT? * ^ StyleS and *> •«« 
and styles. Apart fro - 1 " ^ ^ thdr 

trough a J^JTa^?. - ^ StUd ^ of ^ory is undertaken 

also study of JZ^E^™**** 1 * Carlier P eri ^ and 
one's own syst em i n the 'Tone ^ ^ ° ne l ° Understand 

instruments whTch are e rn T ^T^' Kn ° W,edge ° f the 
within t^lJ^SiS^^r^ 31 ™ 

W hi Ch come under th:iir w y of ^z;r ,y the areas of 
i^Jt^,^ : ith ? eundcrs,a " d,ns ° f:certain 

present day music T L u ^ ""'^ 

namely the These co ver the aspects of svara, »| a and pada, 

^me y the concept of raga, the classification of ragus the svara 

z:zit ; : hedifferent typesoftii - ''-cLJ:^- 

of mus fc and eT ^ "'^ 8 ° Ver " in8 « te 
ot music, and the literary aspect. But before going into the concepts 

under each aspect we shall familiarise ourselves with the technlca 

terms which are employed for describing the different a ili es Tnd 

operates m music. The svara aspect is taken up first. 

. h J" thC SVara aSpect of m ^ic, we shall b, trying to understand 
he basic concepts relating to the melodic part of music. In describing 
the melod.c part of music, many terms are employed and we should 
trrst try to understand what each term denotes and then go to the 

understanding of the concepts based on these terms. The terms that 
we will hj dealing with, here are - Nada, sthayi, svara, svarasthana 
sruti, vadi, samvadi, vivadi and anuvadi. 


, The basic material of music, i.e., sound, is the first idea which 
..needs to bi designated by a term. Nada, a Sanskrit term, is commonly 
used to denote sound in music. There are other terms like sabda. 
dnvani, etc. in Sanskrit and Osai and Oli in Tam.l which are also 
employed. The term Nada however has a wider and deeper signifi- 



cance. While Nada means sound in general, it also has a restricted 
connotation [i.e., musical sound. Musical sound is not different 
from the sound of speech, bat Nada indicates the sound, which has 
at the root of its production a desire to produce music. In thig. 
respect it is different from the second which is utterred in speech for 
communication. Nada is undifferentiated sound before its articulation 
into svaras. Carrying this .notion further, Nada seems to denote the 
abstract musical idea behind the sound. Aid this musical idea 
originates in the human body and yets concretised when sung or 
played on an instrument. NT.du is at ilie base of both vocal and 
instrumental music, the voice and i lie instrument being merely vehicles 
for its expression. Ancient Indian writings also speak of "Anahata 
Nada" which were tonal structures heard by yogis in their stale of 
meditation. As different from this, the nada which formed the basis- 
of music created by men was called Ahata Nada. 

The early Indian thinkers have described the process of pro- 
duction of Nad, i. firstly for Nada to be produced there must be a 
desire to produce music. This desire occurs in the atma(soul). The 
atma stmmlaus the inanas (mind) which in'turn activates the fire in the 
hum, in body said to bi residing in the brahmagranthi (the region 
b hind the navel.) The fire reacts with the prana (vital air) and rises 
tin (nigh the naval region, heart, throat, and head and finally emerges- 
as sound through the mouth. This proeess is also concisely described 
as the reaction between air and fire i.e., a combination of prana and 
agni within the human body. 

The conception of the production of sound according to- 
modern physics however is different. It is said to bs produced by the 
striking of air against the vibrating vocal chords. Apart, from thi* 
deep significance of the term Nada, the term is commonly used 
to refer to the good quality of the sound produced by musical 
instruments. We come across statements like. "The 'madam' 
of this vina is good, the nadam of that tambura is good". 

Thus we find that the term Nada has differing connotations 
starting with simple sound to the primordial, undifferentiated sound 
in muaic. And in fact Indian tradition viewed the concentrated 
practice of music as a worship of nada (Nadopasana; thus deifying,, 
the concept and has gone even further by elevating Nada to the 
•status of the Absolute i.e., that permanent entity whose manifestation 
is this world, objects, Universe etc. The Absolute refered to a* 


in music, understand the term Nada as denoting sound 


"ave seen above deTote »L f Nada " « 

™— ofntnsic. H„w*: r " ' ,T ' "** 
-da atone wl „ wt ^^^^•*«»«» 
*n& nada into that range of the !! h WC go on to a °aly- 

of melody take place Thl f SPeCtrUm in which dements 
-hich thougl ^rnade up of dTf? V™™ " marked ° Ut into "*°»« 

-ty. N 0r L,T y t e h ; e p e °/ e d ; f * rent sound ;' yet exhibit S imi,ar- 

<^tionof m »ricar^^ OM T ^ M ^ ° UtaS stable for the. 
*» three sth 5yi -s are ^ ca„ed 8th5yi and 

in the th£S£VT' fiC re,ati0nShip bCtWeen thc N ^ occuring 

^^.brttV«°^7 t ques,i °° ca °" < » b « 

basic reia'tions p ~ ' Ph <™ «* most 

sr^sr- * — -eaptajrx: 

Thus ,l| sounds i„ Mandrastha,! have corresponding sounds in 
madhyasthllyl whose pitches arc double those in the mandrasthilyt and 

these sounds in madhyasthayi have corresponding sounds in Tarasthayl 
whose pitches are again double those in madhyasthayi. 

Although it is the word 'Sthayi' which occurs in common 
parlance the term which traditionally occurs in earlier theoretical 
writings is "Sthana". Sthana means "place". The three kinds of 
nada Mandra, Madhya and Tara are said to arise from the three 
st lianas or places in the human body namely, heart (Hrd), throat 
(kantha), and head (actually the region behind the nose Sira or 
murdha), respectively. 

Even though we -have said that the melodic movements ar e 
normally spread over three sthayis, at times movement into the region 
higher than tara sthayi and the region below mandrasthayi are noticed 
in the rendering of alapana and other manodharma aspects. In such 
cases the sthayi higher than Tara is called atitara and the one lower 
than Mandra is called Anumandra. 





Starting with Nada, we have narrowed our area through the 
word 'sthayi' which denotes the well-demarcted regions of nada and 
finally arrive at the term "Svara" which denotes the tonal units - of a 
melodic line. Svaras are the basic units into which a melodic structure 
can be analysed. Conversely svaras are viewed as the tonal units 
which are articulated or combined to construct a melody. If 
sthayi-s are large demarcated regions of sound, then svaras are small 
demarcated regions within a sthayi, the smallest tonal regions that arc 
recognised as the units of melody. 

A melodic line can be analysed into small units which can be 
fixed pitches of sound or fluid tonal movements. Thus svara repre- 
sents a fixed pitch as well as a small range of sound. The number of 
svara units that take part in a melody is menlioned with reference to 

one nlhiiyi nniR«. In one Nthftyi the number of nvnrus arc seven. Tin) 
nrvrn sviiras arc assigned names which denote their position in th 
iiMTiHlinn order ot" pitch. The names arc ijadja. Rsabha, Gandharu 0 
Madhyama, Pancama, Dhaivata and Ni;.ada. With §adja being the 
tii si svara in a sthiiyi, The names of svaras prevalent in the Tamil 
iiii.lilion are kural, Tuttam, KaiWilai, Uzhai, Mi, Vilari and Tdram. 
Wliile the svaras in one slhayi are seven, if other sthayls i.e., the 
. nine three sthSyi range of melodic movements are taken into account, 
(he nun. bjr of svaras is twenty-one. However the twenty-one svaras 
an- not assigned diffcrens mmes. The same mmes §adja, Rsabha 
rie :; re assigned and the name of 'he sthayi to which they belong is 
prefixed to (hem. Thus svaras in the tarasthayi are referred to asITara • 
•,lliayi-$nrfja. Tarasthay i-Rsi-bha, etc. and those in Mandrastayi as 
Mamlrasthayi-NijSda, Mandrasthayi-Dhaivata, etc. Normally svara & 
,,| Madhyasthayi do not carry any prefixes. The seven svaras are 
al .o designated by the syllables Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni, 
which are the abbreviated forms of the names Sa^ja, Rsabha, etc 


















i. Dha 







The syllables «a, ri, ga, etc. are also employed in singing. 

t he ranges of the different svaras are not always the same. In 
fact it is the variety in the dimension of the svaras that is one of the 
factors in bringing about different melodies. The variety in the 
dimensions of svaras is defined on the basis of Svarasthana, a term 
which we shall take up next. 


The svara, as described above, is to be viewed as a tonal range 
and also as a pitch position. This fixed or static form of each svara 
becomes the basis for indentifying that svara. These fixed positions 
are called the svarasthanas of the svaras. 

Among the s«ven svaras, except Sac/ja and Pancama, each of 
the remaining five-Rsabha, Gandhara, Madhyama, Dhaivata and 
Nijada - has a variable fixed positions as seen in the melodies 
based on different ragas. The static forms or the svarasthanas 
of these varieties of Ri, Ga, Ma, dha and Ni total ten. And 
along with one svarasthana .each of Sad ja and Pancama, the total 
number of svarasthanas is twelve. 

Among the twelve svarasthanas, the first and the eight are 
assigned to Sadja and Pancama respectively. The second belongs to 
J?;abha. The third and fourth could be the basis for Rsabha or 
Gandhara. The fifth is that of Gandhra. The sixth and seventh 
svarasthanas serve the different varieties of Madhyama. The ninth is of 
Dhaivata. The tenth and eleventh svarasthanas could be the basis of 
Dhaivata of Nisada. And the twelfth or the last svarasthana is that 

St a r a 


Rsabha or Gandhara 
Dhaivata or Nisada 

of Nisada. 

Svarasthana No. 











These svarasthanas have also been assigned names, which are 
.hown^/ tt syllabi Rl, Oa etc with different -vowels sufftxed 
to them are designated for these svarasthanas. 

Svarasthana No. Name 





Suddha— llsabna 


3 1 



Catuhsruti — K.s<iuii<» 
guddha— Gandhara 




* ) 


Satsruti— Rsabha 
Sadharaoa— Gandhara 





Antara— gandhara 



Suddha— Madhyama 



rraii — ividuiiy aiu<* 






Suddha— Dhaivata 


,0 [ 


Catuhsruti Dhaivata 
Suddha Ni§ada 


» t 


Satsruti Dhaivata 
Kaisika Nisada 



Kakali Nisdaa 


It should be noted that in singing only the syllables Sa, Ri, Ga 
it snouiu . ce . n tbe aboye 

etc. are employed and not Ra Gu Mi etc 

,ab,£th r a T «c : I'lllh^ 3 is the basis of a 
S^en^ll^c^d suddha-g^and if it is the 
Lis of Rsabha then it is called Catubsruti-Rsabha. 

One important fact to be borne in mind is that in music the 
, T Z fixed oositions of swaras or the pcith position m 
the number of fixed posi ion innumerable and so could be the 
wu , ind -varashalun are actual Y ^standing the 

svarasthanas. But for the pu i p svarasthana 

- * 1 V C Cct SvaraS - series of pitches meant for broadly 
lirmim lU. 1 cuceSvarastn ^ & icu , ar 

• dC ^^ ™: retted toby the name of its svarasthana 

V "" Tin br lmpio U" the svarasthana of the gandhara in a 
IlH .| . IhttH. fo « n p svara .^^ . s tQ 

::::: r 3:v:: U 7i;, W Lr 1 ca 1 nica. 1 y the names ofsvarasare 



simply sadja, rsabha' gandhara etc. while Suddha — rsabha, catuh — 
sruti— rsabha etc are names of only the svarasthanas! 

, SRUTi 

While svarasthana is a theoretical entity for identifying svarar 
sruti is again a theoretical unit for defining the swarasthanas. When 
the different varieties of a svara are distinguished on the basis of the 
svarasthana— s. sruti acts as a unit for measuring the intervals between 
ivarasthanas or else sruti could be said to measure the tonal ranges of 

Sruti is a small interval of sound which is taken as a unit for 
measuring bigger intervals between the svarasthanas. Just as with 
the help of a known length of space namely a metre we measure 
greater lengths of say cloth, similarly with the help of the srviti unit 
we measure tonal intervals as being of two fcruti (dvi-Sruti), three 
srutis (tri sruti), etc. However sruti is not a precise measure like a metre, 
bat a rough measure like a teaspoonful of sugar. The measure cf a 
jruti can be understood as the smallest interval that is necessary for a 
normally trained ear to distinguish one sound as being higher or 
lower than another. This itself makes it clear that "sruti is a flexible 
or rough measure. Rather it is a musicians's measure for classifying 
the variety of svaras occming in ragas as different from the physicist's 
units like savart, cents. 

It is with the help of a sruti that the rJabha of Todi is defined 
as having an interval 'of two srutis and is distinguished from the 
rsabha of Bhairavi which is of an interval of four sruti-s. In fact the 
third svarasthana is called Catuhsruti- rsabha because the interval 
between that svarasthana and sadja is one of four srutis — "Catuh" in 
Sanskrit means four. And similarly the fourth svarasthana is at an 
interval of six srutis from §adja and is therefore called Satsruti— 
rsabha (Sat in Sanskrit means six). 

The word Sruti apart from denoting a tonal measure is used in 
some other related senses too. For instance in South Indian Music 
the pitch level on which a singer or an instrumental player settles his 
madhyasthayi Sadja is referred to as his Sruti, A singer fixes hi s 
madhyasthayi-sadja at a pitch level below which he can comfortably 
descend in an interval of at least five svaras and above which he can 
Com for l ably sing a minimum of one and a half sthayis".' A player on 
Kt ringed insirumt'nls fixes llic string turned to nuidhyaMluiyi sadja at 

■uch a pitch level which he could comfortably play on strings, with- 
out there being excess tension or low tension in them. This Sruti is 
nlio called Adhara Sruti. To keep the madhya-sthayi-sadja from 
nhifting off the Sruti, a musical instrument constantly sounding the 
toruli is employed in music performance. The -instruments sounding 
the Sruti are called Sruti vadyas or, simply Sruti. Tamburfl, Ottu and 
Hie sruti box perform the function of sruti. In English this sruti is 
referred to as Drone. 

Occasionally in rendering songs based on certain ragas there is 
practice of raising the level of sruti from madhyasthayi-sadja to the 
miidhyasthayi-madhyama. Now madhyasthayi-sadja is fixed at this 
raised level, In such cases the sruti is called madhyama-iruti. 


We have seen now "SthSyi" establsihes the most basic relation- 
al! r> between svaras namely one svara being double another. Instead 
of going on giving different names to svaras occuring in music* we are 
enabled to use the same seven names again and again, in different 
Klhayis. However within the seven svaras in a sthflyi the relationships 
that exist between svaras in shaping the melody are those of vadi- 
Snmvadi, Vadivivadia and Vadi-Anuvadi. 

A piece of music is a structure built up of svaras. Of these 
some are vital to the melodic arrangement. They are firmly estab- 
lished in the melodic structure, they occur' again and again and the 
whole structure appears to be buiit around them. These svaras are 
called vadi. Other svaras which are concordant with them, i.e., 
which sound pleasing in relation [to the Vadi, are called samvadi. 
They also occur frequently in the melodic structure and contribute 
lo its rakti or pleasantness. Certain svara-s have a discordant relation 
with the vadi svara-s and their occurrence in the melodic structure 
has to bi restricted. These are called vivadl. There are still others 
svara-s which neither contribute to nor detract from the pleasantness 
of the melody. These are called anuvadi. Thus all the svaras which 
can bz identified in a musical structure can bs classified into these 
four-types namely Vadi, Samvadi, Vivadi and Anuvadi. 

- Samvad i: 

The Samvadi relationship is recognised firstly between Sadja 
and Paficama and between Sadja and Madhyama. In the case of 
Mtillhyiiniii il n thr variety based on the Suddha-madhyarna 

svarasthflna. When any other pair of svaras is separated from each 
other by an interval which is the same as that existing between Sadja 
and Paficama or that existing between sadja and suddha Madhyama 
then s?mvffdr relationship exists between those two svaras The 
samvadi resulting out cf intervals equal to that between Sadja and 
Paficama is popularly referred to as Samvadi of Sa-Pa bhava or Sa-Pa 
variety. And the samvadi resulting out of intervals equal to that 
between Sadja and Suddha-madhyarna is referred to as Samvadi or 
Sa-Ma bhava or Sa- Ma variety. 

We give below the Tables giving the list of svaras with the 
corresponding Samvadis. The table consists of samvadi-s cf Sa-Pa 
variety and the samvad is of Sa-Ma variety. 

Sa-Pa Samvadi 









*j . 

Catuhsrutirsabha 1 
Suddhagandhara J 

f Catuhsruti dhaivata 
1 Suddhanisada 


Sa/sruti rsabha ) 
Sadharananganhara J 

f Sa?sruti-dhaivata 
I Kaisikinisada 






Sadja (tarasthayl) 












Catuhsruti rsabha ) 
Suddhagandhara J 



Satsruti-rsabha ) 
Sadharanaganhara J 



Antara gandhara 

f Catuhsruti-dhaivata 
l Suddhanisada 


Suddhamand hyama 

r Satsruti-dhaivata 
( Kaiskinisada 

20 7 01 


The samvadi (Sa-pa or Sa-Ma) of a svara can bo of higher pitch 
or lower. That is, Paficama the samvadi §a(fja is u higher pitched 
svara. On the other hand the Sa-Pa samvadi of Paileama is yndju 
and is a lower pitched svara. Thus §adja and Paficama arc mutually 
^amvadi-s. In the same way the Sa-Pa Samvadi of $adjti in the 
lower direction is Mandrasthayi madhyama. The principle of 
Samvadi is seen to be observed in of the construction of musical 
compositions. The commencing notes the pallavi section and the 
anupallavi section b;ar the samvadi relationship in many composi- 

Vivadi : 1 

In present day South Indian Music the vivadi relationship is 
recognised between only some specified pair of notes. These arc- 


Suddha-rsbha — Suddha-gandhara 

Satsruti-rsabha — Antaragandhfira 

Suddha-dhaivata — Suddha-nisada 

Satsruti-dhaivata — Kakali-ni.yUda 

The ragas in which vwadi svaras occur are also popularly 
called Vivadi ragas, e.g., Vairali, Nattai, Candrajyoli. 

Anuvadi : 

Those svaras which do not bear either a Samvadi or a vivadi 
relationship with the vadi are called Anuvadi svaras e.g, Catuhfcruti 
rvsahha is an aduvadi of §adja and Paficama is an anuvadi of 
N/idharanagandara. In musical composition the commencing notes 
of |i;illavi and anupallavi some times bar anuvadi relationships too. 

Nomenclature of Svaras 

We have till now familiarised ourselves with certain funda- 
iitrnl :i I terms used in the Svara aspect of music. We shall now move 
over lo understand Ragu and its concept. Ra^a is the basis for the 
t onsil uclion of melodic structures. There are many ragas, it will 
i\\ho he necessary In classify them in order to gain a general knowledge 
ithnul all of them. Hut bcloic «>" that we hIihII wrlle OUl 

M'P hhIpIv Hip n nil" ' ol nvumi mid HViiiiiMlinii.iv, I hcHc have (tlflAtl)' 

been mentioned while dealing with these terms, Yet we shall go over 
them once more without discussion of the meaning of the termj. 


























Svarasthanas Names 



... (i) 



Suddha- rsabha 

„. (ii) 



J Catuhsruti-rsabha 

... (hi) 


1 Suddha-gandhara 

... (iv) 



J £atsruti-r§abha 

... (V) 


1 Sadharanagandhara 

... (vi) 




... (vii) 




... (viii) 




... (ix) 




... fx) 



Suddha - dhaivata 

... (x\ 




... (xii) 



... ixlii) 



Jataruti - dhivata 

... (xiv) 


Kaimka niuada 

... (XV) 



Knkull nl*ndu 

... (kvi) 



^^zszzzziz aT" 18 "" for ioca,in8 

svarp^thsno i»- svaras. And since in some cases one 

na„ e ' ^ 38 the basis for two different svara*. the 

the vl S C SV ^ SthanaS t0tai ™* than twelve. For instance when 
na!ne nf I"" c 4 ^ " the ref ^e for. a rsabha then the 
name of „.ba, is Satsruti m bha. And if the same svarasthana i.e., 
No. 4 forms the basis for a gandhara then its name is Sadharangan- 

tho^h 2 L aSSi8nCd 10 the 'varasthfaas total sixteen 

hou gh t e bi f svarasth5nas , s actuaJ]y twelye _ Thesvams . 

thanas which have b.-en assigned two names are No. 3, 4, 10 & 11. 

Before we conclude we should understand one point about the 
nomenclature of svarasthanas serving two svaras. The third svaras- 
tnana can function as a gandhara only if the second has b;en occupied 
by a rsabha. In other words the occurrence of fcuddha gandhara 
necessarily means tXat suddharstbha is also present. Again the fourth 
svarasthana can be a gandhara only if the second or third svarasthana 
is a rsabha. e.g., Suddharsubha - Sadharanagandhara; CatuMruti- 
f?£bh " s§ dharanagsndhara. And again if the fourth svarasthana is 
a f§abaa then gandhara can exist only on the fifth (i.e., satsrutirsabha 
on the fourth and Amara gandahra on the fifth). The same situation 
exists in the case of Dhaivata and Nijada too. The purport of the 
above statement will become clearer as w 2 proceed to the subsequent 


Concept of Raga- Importance, scope 
and classification of Ragas 


The fundamentals of Indian Music are bhava, raga and tala. 
Bhava generally means expression or conveying one's experience. In 
music & Dance, bhava plays a vital role, The emotional aspects of 
these fine arts is conveyed through bhava. In Bharatanatyam, the 
classical dance of South India, bhava is expressed through the gestures 
of hands, face, gait and other bodily movements. 

Music is a language by itself. In a song, the words or the 
text-content convey the composers' thoughts and experiences, some- 
times descriptions of situations and so ®n. These depict the aspect 
of bhava only partially, as the expression in music is conveyed also 
through melody and rhythm, The melodic aspect of Indian Music is 
categorised as raga and the rhythmic aspect tala. The bhava conveyed 
through the meaning of the words is termed artha-bhava and that 
through melody raga-bhava, 

Raga is the fulcrum among the three basic elements of music, 
namely, bhava, raga and tala, i.e., raga acts as the central force balan- 
cing bhava and tala in music. A composition in classical music aims 
at the unification of the three elements in proper proportions. 

The word raga means passion, attraction or attachment. Af 
Music is the language of emotions, and the medium of expression of 
the various experiences of the artist and the composer, the aspect of 
bhava cannot be eliminated from the essence of raga. Ragas art 
melodic patterns which provide the emotional basis for Music. They 
form the basis of expression of the subtle shades of moods which can 
be expressed with or .without words. Further, it can bi observed in 
certain folk-songs, we come across words which are meaningless such 
as, 'Elalo' 'llasam' and so on. However, the simple tunes infuse in us a 
spirit of joy, community -spirit and other emotional feelings. 



In the exposition of a ragn, there is a definite flow of an under- 
current of rhythm Actual rhythm or keeping of time may not be 
specified; but a distinct tempo chher slow or fast is apparent in the: 
expositions of raga-forms or melody-types. 

Concept and Raga, importance and scope ; 

The concept of raga is an ancient one; it is realised through 
absolute music, "music which is independent ofsahitya or words and 
tala or time measure, absolute music transcends language and rhythm. 

The aesthetics of melodic patterns constitute the concept of 
raga. This forms the essence of music. So great is the emotional 
impact created by the melodic patterns, devoid of words, that this can 
b^ termed absolute music. This explains why one is moved by instru- 
mental music. Hence raga is the very 'soul of music. 

The sapt-A-svaras form the b isis of raga. From the various 
permutations and combinations of these sapta-swaras, many patterns 
simpie and complex are formed and developed. In thus forming, each 
of these patterns assumes a vivid personality which bears a specific 
stamp of individuality. Here an analogy can be drawn to human 
forms. For instance, let us t^ke the human face. The face consists 
of two eyes, ears, nose, mouth and a forehead, Jn the millions and 
millions of people in the world, we cannot find two identical faces. 
There may be slight resemblances or glimpses of likeness between two 
persons, bat never a replica of the one in another. Similarly in the 
world of music, we see this vast diversity. 

The nearest appropriate word for raga in English is scale : but 
a scale is not a raga. 

The word scale is derived from the Latin word scala meaning 
a ladder. Any graded arrangement is a scale. A musical scale may 
be defined as 'a graduated ladder-like arrangement of notes in order 
- of pitch, from a given tonic to its octave, both inclusive.' The orderly 
rrangemcnt of this series will be: sa ri ga ma pa da ni and sa 
of the higher octave. The series of the sapta-swaras viz. sa ri ga ma 
p i dani, is called a sthayi or an octave in common usage, though 
octave refers to the group of eight notes in a musical scale. 

Ragas arc formed by tlic chosen number of svaras within the 
•lluiyi. They cm be seven, t>\\ or five. They may take any variations 



or the svaras-namely the komal and tivra or the flat and the .sharp- 
Varieties. Also they may not be homogeneous i.e.,. if ia the ascent, 
the raga taTces only five notes, the descent will consist of five,, 
six or seven notes, sometimes even in a zig zag manner- vice versa^ 
Tradition has established that the aesthesis of the melodic form gets 
-detereorated if the number of swaras in ascent and descent comprise 
only four. If four swaras appear in the ascent it should be compen- 
sated with one or two more swaras in the descent-or vice versa. Is- 
should be noted here? that the importance is given to the pleasing, 
effect ptoduced by the raga Forms. 

Raga is the basis of all melody; it may be defined as a melody- 
mould. A raga consists of a series of svaras which bsar definite 
relationship to the tonic or adhara-shadja and also to each other. The 
•svaras occur in a particular sequence. Hovering round the principal 
svaras of the raga, svara-patterns are women based on scientific laws 
and aesthetic values, for every raga, certain rules are involved in 
the grouping of the svaras. Such phrases form the sancharas which 
build up the development of the raga. Some sancharas bear such a 
definite character and individuality that even a single such phrase can 
reveal the svarupa or form of the raga: for example, the phrase ga 3 ri 2 
ga 2 ma x pa da 3 pa sa is rendered, immediately we visualize the raga 
Begada, while the phrase ga x ri 3 ga x ma, pa da x pa immediately 
brings the swaroopa of Bhairavi. 

The krama or the order of svaras of a definite arohana and 
avarohana is prescribed for each raga. This marks the outline or 
framework on which the raga is formed. Each raga has a form of its 
own possessing individual characteristics. This form is termed raga- 
svarupa waich deminds aesthetic applications of the sancharas. 
Sampradaya or adherence to tradition is an important factor here. 
These aspects constitute the raga-Iakshana. The theme of the raga is 
gradualy elaborated observing its lakshna, or the general rules and 
laws abcrib;d to the raga. The improvisation is termed raga-alapana. 
Generally before rendering a composition, the raga-alapana is given 
as a prelude. Also recitation of slokas or verses is rendered inter- 
woven with raga-alapana. This is not learnt as a composition or any 
musical form, but is expected to be rendered as an essay, where the 
performer builds the central idea with his imagination and creativity. 
For a beginner, the ability to elaborate a raga depends to a large 
extent on the repertoire of compositions that he has, and also on 
kelvi-jnanam or the knowledge acquired through listening to the 



exposition of ragas and composition's in the ragas rendered by eminent 
masters and artists. A feeling for the raga, in fact, for every swara, 
is needs for attempting a raga-alapana. 

In ancient music, the word raga was not used. Instead, the 
words jati aud mucchana were used. The word grama was used in 
place of scale. The three ancient scales of Indian Music are the 
Sadja-grama, the Madhyama-grama and the Gandhara -grama. 
The sadja-grama corresponds to the modern Kharaharapriya scale. 
The others two gramas did not have the correct sruti-value or the 
-exact pitch for the Panchama-svara, but paved the way for the 
emergence of Pratimadhyama-ragas 

Bharata, in his Natyasastra, one of the earliest treatises on 
Indian Music, speacks of the fourteen jatis and murcchanas arising 
out of the sadja.and madhyama gramas, by model shift of tonic. - i.e., 
when the rishabha of a scale is taken the fundemental or the sadja, 
the gandhara of the former becomes rishabha for the new scale and 
«o on, foxming a complete new scale. The technical term for such a 
process is 'graha bheda. The same practice has been followed in 
early Tamil Music also. All these facts reveal the development of 
the concepti on of raga has been a continuous one from ancient times. 

The earliest treatise on Indian Music in which the word raga 
is mentioned and defined is Matanga of the 5th centuary. The verse 
is as follows: 

mm escdrf^g f^4#i|^ i 

you asa' dhavaniviseshastu svara-varna-vibhushitaha ranjako 
jana-chittanam sara raga udagritaha 

The translation is as follows: 

That which is formed by pattern of sounds, that which is 
beautified with svaras and varnas (mode of singing) and that which 
is pleasing to the minds of people, that is defined as raga. Varna 
here means gana-kriya or the mode of singing. This is of four 



kinds, namely, Sthayi, Arohi (ascent ), Avarohi (descent) and Sanchari 
(combination of ascent and descent). 

Later authors of treatises on music like Sarangadeva in his 
Sangita-Rathnakara (13th century) and Ahobola in his Sangita- 
Parijata (17th century) give more or less the very definition for raga. 
Illangovadigal, the author of the monumental Tamil work, the 
Silappadikaram, introduces the word pan as an equivalent term to . 
raga or scale. 

The origin of raga can bs traced to the Saman chant which 
pivoted on two notes called - latta or the raised or the higher one 
and the anudatta or the not-raised or the lower one. Later, the 
note svarita is also mentioned. In the course of time, the Saman 
chant becam; developed to a heptatonic scale. In the early scales 
of the many countries in the world, the pentatonic is more widely 

In the course of the dsvelopnnnt of the raga aspzet in Indian 
Music, in order to uphold to the individuality of the various raga- 
forms, rules and regulations were formulated. These are called the 
raga-lakshanas. In spite of the rigidity of the set rules and laws 
attached to the raga-pattems, there is great scope for creativity in this 
field. To reader an elaborate raga-aiapana, a theoretical knowledge 
jf the raga-lakshanas will not suffice. A practical approach to the 
understanding of the visual forms of many ragas disclose the fact 
that ragas have originated from various scources such as local tribal 
songs; folk-songs, poetical creations, devotional songs and composi- 
tions of scientific musicians. 

The ragas propounded by the great composers are a legacy of 
Indian Music. There may be only a single composition in one raga; 
bat the pristine purity of that form would be captured totally in 
that one composition. Such examples are innumerable in the bulk 
of Tyagaraja's compositions. An analytical study of these classical 
compositions helps the student of music to acquire lakshana jnana 
and lakshya-jnana. Lakshana-jnana is the knowledge acquired by 
scientific theory, and lakshya-jnana is the wisdom gained by practice 
and experience. 

In a study of the raga aspect in music, n blend of theory nutl 
pruvlioo in cvtontiul. The soopc of ohihortilion of i u^n will be utmlleil 

28 - 


from the compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar. The development 
of a raga from the mandra'sthayi to the higher reaches, the stress on 
important sancharas, the finale with madhyamakala or a faster tempo 
are alltdepicted in meticulous procedure. 

The foundation of raga-elabjration for students of Indian 
music can bi laid in early lessons in the parctice of alaakaras or tala 
execrcises. These exerscies are generally taught in the raga Mayamala- 
vagowla during the early lessons and generally laid aside after 
-sometime, After a few lessons in gitams and varnams, it would be of 
great help in the understanding of the raga-forms if practice in 
pentatonic scales, that is, scales with regular asceut and descent of 
five svaras, such as Mohanam, Hamsadvani, sue 1 ihasaveri and 
suddhadhanyasi are taken up. Later, these alankaras can be practised 
in full scales such as Kalyani, Sankarabharanam, Kharaharapriya 
and Harikambhoji are taken up introducing simple gamakas or 
embellishments to bring the svarupa of the ragas. Later on alankaras 
in ragas like Kambhoji and Bhairavi can be practised, Such'gradations 
in the practical lessons will make the students understand the 
importance of the distinct individual characterestics of the ragas and 
realise the scope of elaborating the raga-alapana. 

Classisication of ragas : 

Before the advent of the Melakarta scheme, in the 17th 
century which brought out a scientific classification of the ragas, 
there prevailSd various systems of classification of ragas. 

An early system of classification of ragas is based on the 
general nature of the ragas, grouped under three divisions, viz., 
suddha, chayalaga and sankirna. 

Suddha means pure. Ragas adhering to tradition and 
•conforming to certain rules were classified as suddha-ragas. 
Janaka ragas and janyas whieh have the same svaras as ([their janakas, 
belong to this category. It should be noted here that the janaka- 
janya system however evolved long after their classification. 

Chayalaga conveys the meaning of a shadow. Ragas which 
allow the shades of other ragas come under this group. Traditionally 
handed down ragas permit some common sancharas among them. A 
cbay laga-raga was also called a salanka or salaga-raga 



Sankirna means mixture. Ragas having traces of two or three 
ragas, yet possessing individuality are called sankirna-ragas. A 
totality of the shades creat a form of its own. Combining shades of 
different ragas need not affect the swarupa or form of the resulting, 
raga. What is essential in maintaining the concept of rage should 
possess a clearly defind character of its own. As an example, the raga 
Ghanta has shades of Dhanyasi, Punnagavarali and Ahiri and yet has 
a speeific character of its own. 

A later classification of ragas is uttmama-madhyama-adhama 
or superior, moderate and inferior. Ragas were classified according 
to their scope and the success obtained by them in practical usage. 
Uttama-ragss were those which were fit for elaboration and com- 
positions. They were ranked superios to others. Madhyama-ragas 
were mainly used for elaboration but were rarely handled and so 
compositions were nof attempted in them. Adhama-ages werer those 
'which, though in vouge, were not considered fit for elaboration and 
so were regarded as inferior. 

The Classification of raga-ragini-putra was prevalent in North 
India. There were supposed to bi six principal ragas^and each of 
them had a number of consorts called raginis. These ragas and 
raginis combined to yield putra-ragas. No definite rules were 
observed in this system as the ragas were classified arbitrarily. Some 
artists have taken to this idea and have created a few paintings calling 
them raga-mala pictures. 

One system of classification of ragas is based on svaras in the 
murcchana. The murcchana of a raga is the series of svaras used in 
its arohana and avarohana listed in the order of the sapta-svaras* 
Murcchana can be taken to mean a musical scale. According to the 
system, a sampurna-murcchana consists of seven svaras, a shadava- 
murcchana six and an audava-murcchana five. 

Another general classification of ragas is based on geographic 
origin of the ragas. Ragas native to the soil are Karnataka ragas 
while those originated from other regions and countries are desya or 
desi-ragas. The svaras of desya-ragas get altered according to the 
taste and style of the artist. For example Behag and Kamasofthe 
Carnalic Htyle arc very different from the Hindustani style of render- 
ing these ragus. 



with syllables torn, ZTZ anal t ° I' 
hyarna-kala. Me a radian" T* « ' e,nP ° mad - 

is not very effective He.iT* ° f ""-"gas in slow tempo 

N».a, Gowia, Arab:,!, and £°™ 8 a S 
Naraya„a f „w,a and a f«„ others also followed has! a 's ^ n 

rasas also called'rat" a ' 1°, S""""" mto ™»- 

b^rataa.opa, S^^SSE? 8,VeS ClaSMS 
However the diffe-ent „™_ 7 classification ts not very precise 

no ■a., n rr:,~:. u ° <i5r ih,s ^ » *-*■*«; 

The classification in accordance with the then™ ,.(■*• 
-«« ronnuiated. The relation between a p^cut^Lda^Z 
■xal fmc at which the raga should be rendered was estabr h h 
««ras were classified into those which were to be rend red a d a 
-nnng. noon, afternoon, evening, dusk, night and *T' of reservng a specific time of the day fTZTrl 
; .»-vcd q uite strict* even now by Hindustani ^Sn ^ 
»m:U.c but not much cared for this idea of specific til 
rasa.. However, there are a few exceptions such as raga Bhl Z 
wind. ,s rendered in the early hourse of the mornine J2f 

a,Ki Kcdaram whieh are tak - s -~r s P r ti r d r, 

According to one school of thoueht earh r*„o • 

"Viih i. ^ m -;r„ • lIlo "gnt, each raga is associated 

V M .. spec 1 c , sa u,- encon. This characterestic feature of a raga 
1.0 N «, u.l.zcd ,„,„„ of music foi dance of ' 
«ml levels ol thea.rial programmes. R asa8 ninc jn „„X calW 
llic iLivu-rnmiH, depict vufiouh moods : 



Srinoa ra 



- Valmir 




An ser 


r * Fear 


_ T"")lC071ct 


- Humour 


- Wonder 


- Peace 

In Carnatic music, raga is regarded as an expression of the 
sublimation of all emotions and consequently, a specified rasa to a 
particular raga is not emphasized. Also Carnatic music is bhakti- 
oriented and hence raga, the basis of melody, is an expression of 

It can be noted that in ancient Tamil music the devotional 
hymns or tunes were also called pans. Pan is a general name for a 
raga. The classification of the pans .also were done according to the 
time of singing. They were classified into: 

1. Pagal pan ie. those which should be sung during day. 

2. Iravuppan i.e. those which should bj sung during night and 
y 3. Poduppan i.e. those which could be sung at all times, 

Most of the above classification are useful only from the 
historical point of view as they have failed in to oblivision. 

The modern classificatio ofragasis the janaka-janya-system- 

This is an off shoot of the scientific scheme of 72 melas or janaka- 

The Scheme of 72 Melakartas 

The scheme of 72 melas is a well defind system. Since it is 
based on scientific principles in a very meticulous manner, it proves 
good for all practical purposes. The term janakaraga, melaraga, 
melakartaraga, karta raga, sampurana raga, parent raga fundamental 
of principal raga, root raga are all synonymous. 


The specifications for a janaka or a melakartaraga are : 

1. The full series of the sa'ptasvaras should bi present. 

2 . •, he sequence of the svaras in the arohana should be in the 
ascending order of pitch and similarly in the avarohana, 
the descending order of pitch. 

3 Each svara should occur in the same variety i.e. either 
komal or tivra in both the arohana and the avarohana. 

3 Each svara should occur in the same variety i.e. either, 
komal or tivra in both the arohana and the avarohana. 

Consolidating these details, it can bs said that a mela is a 
sampurna raga with the same krama or order of swaras admitting the 
siimc variety of svaras both in the arohana and avarohana. 

The classification of the ragas with these specifications is 
known as the Sampurna- paddhati, while the earlier systems come 
lin jcr the asampurna-paddhati, wherein it is sufficient if to Santas- 
vavas occur in the combined arohana-avarohana series. 

Ragas iike Nata and Varali are very ancient and existed long 
lH-lore the janaka-janya scheme was ever thought of. Nata-raga was 
...vcn great prominence; it is considered auspicious and hence it is 
,l,o opening raga in any function in temple even to-day. Muscians 
..-■Mi-d this raga as the foremost among ghana-ragas : 

The rishabha of Nata-raga is neither suddha nor chatussrutL 
„ i .kcs the place of sadharana-gandhara and is pronounced as 
, ,. u'.Mia it is technically called shadsruit-rishabha. Correspondingly. 
» x ',hc uttaranga group of svaras the shadsruti-dhaivata is the 
..vara which takes the place of kaisiki-nishada. The gandhara of the 
,-Vi Varali takes the place of chatussruti-rishabaa and is callea 
wdhara-.a gandhara. The gandhara is so unique that it is called 
varali gandhara by some great masters. 

The corresponding svara to this gandhara in the uttaranga 
B n„ M . ol svaras would bo the one taking the position of chatVSSruti- 
tlhuiviilit, it i'. icniu-d i.mldlinno.lmclu. 

70 1 


Thus in a musicai scale, the seven notes had expanded to 
twelve and later to sixteen (see chart No. ]). To distinguish the- 
varieties among the svaras, the vowel variations are adopted. But 
generally the numerical adaptations are taken. 

The following gives the vowel and numerical adaptations for 
the svaras : 

O UUVi U<X i i J IVCX LJ 1 1 CL 


r i 




Stiadsmti— risliahha 


r 3 


uuuuj '**■ gauuuai tx 

B l 







g 3 



m l 



m 4 

Suddha- dhaivata 


d 1 

Chatussruti -dhaivata 


d 2 



d 3 



n 1 






n 3 

The allocation of these svaras in their respective svara-sthanas 
is given in chart No. 2. 

Trie mela-karta scheme is formulated distributing . these 
sixteen svara positions in a musical scale, with the specification that 
aaela-karta is a regular full scale consisting of all the seven notes, in 
order of their pitch, taking the same variety in both the ascent and 

With r 1 , the possible ri-ga combinations will be 
r 1 - g*» r 1 - g' • and r l - g*. 

With r s , the possible ri - ga combinations will be i 

r' - g* and r* - g*. (As r* and g* hold the santff 
positions, the combination r 1 - g l will not be possible). 


34 , 701 

With r 3 , the only possible combination will be : 

r 3 - g 3 . (As r 3 is higher in pitch to g\ r 3 - g 1 com- 
bination will not be possible, since this would not 
satisfy this specification that the sequence of svaras in 
mela should be in the ascending order of pitch; again 
as r 2 occupies the same position as g 2 , the combin- 
ation r 3 - g 2 will not bi possible). 


Thus the total number of combinations possible with ri and 
ga is six. Similarly, the possible combinations with da and ni will 
bz six ^See chart No. 3). 

With each one of the six sets of ri - ga combinations six sets 
with the combinations of da - ni can be fixed; introducing the suddha 
madhyama and the panchama, a full scale or a mela karta is formed. 
The total number of Suddha-madhyama-melas will be 6x6 or 36. 
Substituting prati madthyama for sudda madhyama a corresponding 
set of 36 prati madhyama-melas are obtained. Thus the scheme 
of 72 melas is formulated. 

These 72 melas are structured in twelve chakras or groups of 
six each. In each chakra, the svaras of the purvanga viz. ri - ga 
and ma remain constant; the change occurs only in the svaras of the* 
ullaranga viz. da and ni. 

In the first chakra the svaras taken by the first mela are : 

Shadja, suddha-rishadha, suddha-gandhara, suddha-madhy- 
ama, panchama, suddha-dhaivata, and suddha-nishada. Since all 
(lie vikritasvaras happen to be suddha-svaras, this mela is called 
sikJdha-mela. In the nomenclature of the mela scheme, this scale is 
lulled kanakangi. 

The names and svaras taken by the melas are given in the 
Litter part of chart No. 3. The suddha-madhyama-melas (one to 
Jliirty six) are called purva-melas and the second set of 36, (37 to 72) 
piati nnulhyama-melas are called uttara-melas. See chart No. 4. 

Nnincs arc given lo the twelve chakra-s suggestive of their 
sci i« I number, for c.g Chakra I named Indu (moon) signifies the 
untitle union on (lie carlli or a drop of Soma juice, and Chakra II 
iiitincd Nil n> (ry<-Hill living beings arc two eyed. For further 
ilrliiil"! nrr i Inn I N<> *>, 


The nomenclature of these 72 melas is so ingenious that from, 
the very name of the mela, its serial number and the svaras taken by 
it can be deduced. This is done by the application of the ancient 
formula, the katapayadi-sankhya. This scheme is made use of in 
many sciences and arts in our country. The katapayadi-formula is 
based on the principles letters of the Sanskrit alphabets classified 
under four groups :- 

Kadinava — a series of nine letters starting from the 
alphabet ka, 

tadinava — A series of nine letters starting from the 
alphabet ta. 

Padi-pancha — A series of five letters starting from the 
alphabet pa. 

yadi-ashta — a series of eight letters starting from the 
alphabet ya. 

In chart No. 6, on the horizontal tabulation are given the 
groupings of the letters. 

kadinava — k, kh, g, gh, ng, c, ch, j, jh, jn; 
tadinava — t, th, d, dh, n, t, th, d, dh> n.' 
yadiyashta — y, r, l, v, s, sh, s, h. and 
Padipancha — p, ph, b, bh, m. 

In each group, the letters are so compartmentalised that each 
letter is labelled by the series of numbers 1,2,3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 
0. In tadinava, the extra letter n falls under 0. 

The method to decipher the serial number and the svaras of a 
mela, say Mayamalavagowla is as, followed. 

Fix the first two syllables of name of the mela, i.e. ma and ya 
in their respective compartments. Ascertain the numbers under which 
they fall, they are 5 and 1. The resulting numb;r is 51. The number 
formed by reversing the digits 5 and 1 namely 1 5 gives the serial 
number of the mela. This serial number determines the svaras taken 
by the mela. The chakra to which the mela belongs ascertains the 
purvnnga-svaras and the rank of the mela gives thc£uttaranga svaras. 

Since the chakras are in groups of six, the chakra to which the mela 
belongs can be fixed by dividing the serial number being 15, the mela 
will come under the third group of six or the chakra III, so the swaras 
in the purvanga are r^g 3 and m, i.«. Sudha rishabha, Antara 
gandhara, and suddhamadhyama. The rank of 15 in chakra III is 
third; so the svaras in the uttaranga are d 1 n 2 and d 2 i.e. suddha- 
dhaivata and kakali-nishada. Thus, the serial number in the mela 
, scheme for the raga Mayamalavagowala is 15, and the svaras taken by 
it are : 

Shadja, suddha-rishabha, antara- gandhara, suddha-madhyama, 
panch'ama, suddha dhaivata and kakali-nishada. 

In the case of conjunct consonants, the second of the com- 
ponent is taken into consideration, for example, in Ratnangi, the first 
two syllables are ra and na. The resulting number is .20; so, the 
reversed number 2 gives the serial numbsr 2 to ratnangi. Some exce- 

ptions to this rule are : 

Name of the mela 

Nos. in Katapayadi 

£Serial No. 


6, 1 



S, 4 



5, 5 


Si .mhe-ndra-madhyama 

7, 5 



6, 6 



8. 6 


To suit computation in the katapayadi-sankha, a prefix is 
ndaclicd to the name of some of the ragas as in "Hanuma" Todi. 
•Dhira" - Sankarabharanam. Meccha - Kalyani, and Maya- 

It would be interesting to note the serial numbers of the melas 
whose svaras in the purvanga and uttaranga take the corresponding 
positions : 



r 1 
■ 1 

r 2 

g i 




d 1 

d 2 
n 1 

d 3 
n 2 

n 3 

Serial number 









1 + 7 or 8 




1 + 7 + 7 or 15 






1+7 + 7 + 7 or 22 




1 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 or 29 




1 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 7+ 7 or 36 

The melas figuring in these patterns are : 

Kanakangi, Hanuma Todi, Mayamalavagowla. Kharahara- 
priya, Dhira-Sankarabharanam and Chalanata. Corresponding 
patterns in the uttara-melas can also be seen. 

Viewed theoretically, the different between the purva and 
uttaramelas lies only in the variety of the madhyama svara; but in 
practical considerations, there exists a word of different emerging 
from the forms of these ragas-This can be illustrated taking phrases 
From short passages from well known varnams-compositions taught 
to beginners-in ragas Sankarabarana and Kalyani : 

Chittasvara passages in the two varnams : 

Sankarabharanam (Sami ninne> : 

SfnSdns p d n s d p - (so farm has not appeared) 

Kalyani (Vanajakshiro) 

sr, -nsndN-sndp- (so farm has not appeared) 

Even before the appearance of the madhyama, m l in the former, 
aft* till the latter, the raga-svarupa is well established. The rendering 



of the ragas from its introductory phrases, stressing the importance. of 
stabilizing the ragas-svarupas has bsen the mission of our great 
composers and masters through their compositions and expositions. 

The eirlier nomenclature for the 72 melas starting with Kana- 
kambari, Penadhuti etc upto Ragamanjari, was supposed to have 
been laid down by oae Muddhu Venkatamakhi on the basis of the 
kadapayadi-sankya-system of computation. The modern nomencla- 
ture starting with Kanakangi. Ratnangi upto Rasikapriya, has been 
credited to Govinda. 

The modern mela-sheme of the 72 complete Sscales is known a& 
the sampurna - mela - paddhati as against the sampurna - mela- 
paddhati wherein a raga in which all the sapta-svaras occured, 
immaterial of some of the svaras being absent either in the arohana. 
or avarohana can hi claimed as a mela. For example, Sriraga : 
s r m p n s-& a p d n p m r g r s -. Hare though ga and da are 
absent in the ascent, all the seven svaras appear, though not in 

Bhuta SankSiya : 

Bhuta sankhya is used in ganita-sastra or the science of compu- 
tation, mathematics, and in chronograms. In musical mnemonics, 
bauta sankhya is used to denote the names of : 

1. 12 chakras in the scheme of 72 melakartas, (see chart 5), 

2. 12 svarasthanas in the work, svararnavam, 

3. some of the 35 talas, and 
4r the varieties of flute. 

Sankhya in this context means that which relates to numbers 
as against the name of one of the six systems of Hindu philosophy. 
Bhuta sankhya is a mnemonic method of denoting numbers through 
•words or names suggestive of those numbers. 

Vivadi and non-?ivadi melas : 

Vivadi-svaras are those which have a discordant relationship 
with the vital svaras in a musical phrase. Some of the pairs of 

701 39 

svaras occupying adjacent svarasthanas have this vivaditva or the 
quality of vivadi-relationship. These are : 

1. suddha rishabha, suddha gandhara 

2. shatsruti rishabha, antara gandhara 

3. suddha-dhaivata, suddha nishada 

4. shatsruti rishabha, kakali nishada. 

Melakartas having the grouping of these svaras are vivadi- 
melas. Great care has to be taken in rendering these ragas. A peculiar 
approach is made in the handling of some sancharas, such as, 
skipping of some intermediate svaras, etc. 

In the magnum opus creation of Maha Vaidhyanatha Sivan, 
namely, his melaraga-malika, in short svara phrases, the ragasvarupa 
of the vivadimelas are clearly brought out bscause of the very 
careful approach given to the sancharas. 

Non-vivadi melas are those which take the svaras admitting 
the two varieties namely the komal and theevra svaras. They are : 

1. suddharishaba, sadharana gandhara 

2. " , antara gandhara 

3. chatussruti rishabha, sadharana gandhara 

4. " antara gandhara 

5. suddha dhaivata, kaisiki nishada 

6. " " , kakali nishada 

7. chatussruti dhaivata, kaisiki nishada 

8 »' kakali nishada. 

In handling these melas, one can be more at ease in getting 
the correct svarastanas, especially in the voice. 

Chart No. 1 






karnataka ' 


time- theory 







upa raga 





































all times 






Chart - 2 





! 4 












nishada . 


— 1 " 
































g a i 

ga 2 

ga 3 

ma x 

ma 2 



da a 

da 3 
ni 2 




3, 4 


5 , 6 






12, 13 

14, 15 





Chart - 4 



















Cha-i No 


Dhenuka 1 

Kokiiapriya | 

Gayakapriya J 

Vakulabharanam l 

Mayamalavagaula | 

Chakravaksm I 

Suryakantam i 

Hatakambari j 

















i! XI 

Yagapriya XII 

32 j Ragavardhani } 

33 | Gangeyabhushani j 

34 Vagadniswari ' 

35 Sulini 

36 Chalanata 



5 i 







































Purva melas are also called b-jduna madnyama metes as they 
take Suddha-madhyamasvara. Corresponding melas, taking prati- 
madhyama svaras are called Uttara Me!as. The varieties of Rishabha- 
Gandhara svares are given in the previous chart^ 

44 72 

Chart -5 


Qprja 1 KJ 1 1 m hnr 



Explanation of Names suggesting significance of Serial Numbers 




A drop of Soma-juice according to the Vedas. 




Two eyes for all moving creations in Nature. 




AGNITRAYA (Three sacrificial fires) : 





31- 36 



Panchabana of Manmatha (Five Arrows) : Sammohana, Unmadhana, 
Sosha/ia, Tapana, Sthabhana 

SHADRUTU (Six Seasons) 

Sisira, Vasanta, Greeshma Varsha, Sarad and Hima. 

37-42 9 



SAPTA RISHI (Seven Sages) : Gautama Bharatvaja Viswamitra 
Jamadagni Vasishta Kasyapa and Atri 

701 45 

Serial Number 



Explanation of Names suggesting significance of Serial Numbers 




ASHTAVASU (eight substances) : Dhara, Dhuruva, Soma, Aha, Anila, Anaia' 
Pratyusha and Prabhasa. 




Prajapati : An epithet of Brahma according to Manusmrithi an epithet of nine 
lords of created Beings, created by Brahma 




DISI (Directions Ten) North, South, East, West, North-Easr, South-East, 
North-West, South-West, Up and DOWN. 




EKADASI RUDRA • A group of eleven Gods supposed to be the manifest- 
ations of Siva as the head. 




Dvadasa-Aditya (twelve suns) Representing ' twelve months: Dhata, Mitra, 
Aryama, Rudra, varuna, Surya, Bhaga, Vivaswan, Pusha, Savita, Twasita & 


Classification of ragas : 

Janaka — janya; Further classification of janyas 

The janaka-janya system of classification is a scientific and a 
practical one. Janaka means father, and janya means that which is 
born. A janaka-raga is a fundamental of a primary or root-raga. 
It is also called a karta-raga or just a karta or a mela or a mcla-karta. 
Raga-s derived from these melas are known as janya-raga-s or deriva- 
tive or secondary raga-s. 

The number of janaka raga-s is fixed, as 72, as it is worked on the 
possible combination out of the twelve swarasthanas of the sthayee; 
but the possiblity of the number of janya raga-s is enormous. It is 
practically unlimited. The classification of janaka-janya system does 
not give room for the presumption that janya-raga-s are formed later 
i.e., they are later in origin and more modern than the janaka-s. 
Some janya-raga-s were in existence centuries before the genus species 
system, i.e., the parent and the offspring or janaka and janya was 
ever thought of. As a matter, of fact, many janaka-raga-s have been 
given shape and rendered freely in the last two centuries. Of course, 
many janya-s have also sprouted more by intellectual speculation than 
by emotional spontaneity, 

A janaka-raga comprises all the sapta-svara-s; hence it is called 
sampurna-raga, sampurna meaning full or complete. 

The specifications for a janaka or a mela-karta-raga are; 

1. The full series of the sapta-svara-s should bs present, 

2. The sequence of the svara-s in the arohana should be in 
the ascending order of pitch and similarly in the 
avarohana, the descending order of pitch, 

3. Each svara should occur in the same variety i. e., either 
komal or tivara in both the arohana and the avarohana. 

48 701 

Corrisolidating theses details, it can be said that mela is a 
Mimpunaraga with the same krama or order of svara-s admitting the 
Namevariety of svara-s both in the arohana and avarohana. 

The classification of the raga-s with these specifications is 
known as the Sampurna — paddhati, while the earlier systems come 
under the asampurna-paddhati, wherein it is sufficient if the sapta — 
svara-s occur in the combined arohana — avarohana series. 

' Janya ragas are' ragas derived from the janaka ragas. Janya 
may have all the sapta — svara-s but may not satisfy the other specifi- 
cations of a janaka. For example, the raga Sahana, a derivative of 
llarikumbhoji has a sanchara as-ri ga ma pa da ni Sa fi Generally a 
Janya has either five or six or seven svara-s either in the arohana or 
avarohana or both; in cases where there are only four svara-s in the 
aiohana, they make up with more svara-s in the avarohana and vice- 
vc-rse. However, in some very modern (coined) janya-s, this aspect 
has bjen over-looked. 

Raga-s like Nata and varali are very ancient and existed long 
b Tore the janaka— janya seheme was ever thought of. Nata— raga 
was given great prominence; it is considered auspicious and hence it is 
(lie opening raga in any function in temple even to-day. Musicians 
n-|»ard this raga as the foremost among ghana — raga-s. Both the ragas 
Nata and Varali are celebrated ragas for rendering of the traditional 
l. main. Tana is an extended elaboration of the raga -alapana using 
riyllables torn, nam tarn and anantham, spread among groups of two, 
Unci- four five or six. It can b 2 noted here that both the ragas Nata 

ami Varali are [vivadi-ragas •> Nata takes shatsruti rishabha and 

Varali, suddha— gandhara. Varali is a difficult raga, mainly because 
ol its candhara biing suddha gandhara and sometimes slightly higher 
hi i a use of gamakas. Hence, it was supposed that this raga was not 
laiiKhl by a teacher to a student. Perhaps the reason b2hind this 
is, iaf',as like Varali can be understood and rendered only with the 
K»hhI deal of listening to authentic versions of ragas and compositions 
11 in I absorbing I lie nuances of the snafctes of gamakas. characterestic of 
•l-l i »* various ragas. 

A janya is said to b; born of a janaka or parent, father. The 
name mid sciuil number of its janaka give a clue to the svaras taken 
by a 1 1 1 n y 1 1 are union?, those of us parent ragas; but thii Btutcment it 
■nil 11 compulsory our. 

/Of 4& 

A janya whose svaras are among those of its parent raga is 
1 ailed a upanga-raga i.e., the svaras of the upanga form a sub set of 
i hose of its parent or janaka. Some janyas admit one or two svaras alien 
10 lln:ir janakas. These are called bhashanga-ragas, and the foreign 
notes arc named baashanga-svaras or anya-svaras. Anya means^ 
dillcrent. Bhashantara means another dialect. It is conceivable 
Ilia I ragas with anya-svaras are called bhashantara-ragas as in collo- 
quial us ige bhashantara bjcomes bhashanga. Thus janyna are divided 
into apanga and bhashanga-ragas (see chart No.l). In notation, the 
bli.ishangasvaras denoted by an asterisk sign above them. 

An important class of janyas is varja ragas, varja means leaving 
or abandoning. A janya is a varja raga when the or two of one sapta 
svaras are omitted either from the arohana or avarohana or both. As 
a r.encral rule, a janya should have at least five svaras in arohana and 
avarohana as well. Janyas which have only four svaras are called 
svarantara ragas. 

If a janya has all the seven svaras in the arohana, it may have 
either six or five in the avarohana and vice versa. Another possibility 
is that the arohana has six with an avarohana of five and vice and 
versa. Yet another possibility is that both arohana and avarohana 
have either five or six each. The number of possible variations thus 
ob:ained is eight. Using technical terms sampurna for the series of 
seven svaras, shadava for six and audava for five, the groupings 
will be: 

Sampurna— shaddava, shadava-sampurna, sampurna-audava- 
audava-sampurna, shadava-atidava, audava-shadava, shadava- 
nhadava and audava-sudava. See chart No: 2. 

Thus each mela can give rise to eight varja-ragas. 

The context here demands our attention to the practical side.. 
One may feel that the methodical sorting and grouping of ragas will 
loud to be mechanical and dry while rendering them. It is here that 
the artistic creativity of great composers becomes apparent. The skill 
with which live scholarly composere have given form and expanse to 
the derivative ragas reveals the vastness and variety of the svarupa of 
Iho vni jn'rHgiis. To quote and example, the raga Nathabhairavi or 
iiipIu ;iI % whn in oblivion during the pro-Tyilgaraja period. Even the 
only composition ol Tyllmsraju in this raga commencing with the 

words 'Chetulara sringaramu' is a subject of controversy-whether it is 
rendered in Bhairavi, Kharaharapriya or Nata bhairavi. Anyhow, the 
compositions composed in the janya of compositions'composed in the 
pmys of Nathabhairavi speak of the genius of Tyagaraja, for the 
viirja-ragas have attained charming individual forms of their own in 
his hands, A few examples: 

* '(imposition 

R.'ira Sitaramanimanehra 





janya of 20th mela;: sampurna- 
audava; ri and pa varja in avaro- 
hana : (s r g m p d n S - Sn d 
m g s). 

Hindola - vasantam janya of 20th 
mela : shadava audava; ri and ni 
varja in arohana; 

pa and ga varja in avarohana 

Kalyana - vasantam 
janya of 21st mela: audava-sam- 
purna; ri and pa varja in arohana; 
(srgmpnS-Smdpmg s ) . 

janya of 22nd mela; 
shadava-shadava; da varja in 
arohana and ri in avarohana; 

janya of 28th mela; 

l( is obvious that there will be a number of repetitions when 
ihr piott-ss of derivation by method of groupings sampurna-shadava, 
f.liiidnv:i snnipiiriia etc., is applied to each of the 72 melas. For e.g., 
H vuijii riit'a wherein l lie madhyama does not appear, can be derived 
riilici from ii pnrvn nicla or utlaru-nicla as Sankarubhuranam and 
Kiilyiini. If a common svara in these, say nisliada is deleted, the 



resulting svara-series gives the scale of raga Mohana. Consequently- 
determining the janaka of Mohana and similar janyas poses a problem. 
In this context the janaka of Mohana turns out to be neither Sankara- 
bharanam or Kalyani. As the dhaivata of Mohana is more flat than 
that of Sankarabharanam and the particular oscilations given to that 
svara brings closer semblance to the mela Harikambhoji, Mohana is- 
fixod as a derivative of Harikambhoji. Also in such cases, the mela 
with an earlier serial number is taken up for decision: i.e. Harikam- 
bhoji, being 28, and Sankarabharanam 29, 28 is given preference to 
29; but generally lakshana and svarupa of ragas are given prior con- 
sideration. Sampradaya or tradition is taken into consideration and 
also the sruti-values of the dominant svaras of the janyas. 

The examples cited for varja ragas as tabulated in chart No. 2 
are all upanga ragas. In bhashanga ragas one of the two varieties of 
one particular svara should be a bhashanga. For e.g., Bhairavi and 
Mukhari have chatussruti-dhaivata in the arohana, Both classified 
under Nathabhairavi, 20th mela, and not under Kharahara priya the 
22nd. ' 

The arahana of Mukhari is : s f m p n d s 

r m p d jis also permissible. 
The course taken by the svaras in the arohana is not regular 
It deviates after panchama as p n d s. Such a pharse is called a 
vakraprayoga - A vakra raga is one in which the order of pitch of the 
svaras either in ascent or descent does not coincide with that of the 
sapta svara of the scale. See chart No:3 Examples : 

The arohana and avarohana of Begada are : 
s g 2 r, g 2 m 3 p d s ps - § N x d a p M x g 3 r 2 s 

As the arohana is vakra and avarohana sampurna, this is a 
irakra sampurna: also it is arohana vakra as it is vakra in this 

Raga_ Karnataka - Bahag : 

s r a g 3 m x pd, n lS - s n x d 3 n x p m x g 2 r 2 g a s. 

Tli is is an example of sampurna vakra, also avarohana vakra. 

Rii^n Sriranjani : 

« r -j B( m > 41 n n 4 s - s n, d„ m, g, r„ s- 



As this is varja in both arohana and avarohana, also shadava 
in both, it is an example of shadava-ubhaya- varja. 

Raga Hamasadhani ^ 

s r 2 g 2 p n s s - sn,pg 5 r 2 s. 

An example of audava-ubhaya varja. 

If a raga is bhashanga and also vakra, it is called bhashanga- 
vakra (e.g.,) Raga-Saranga, janya of Mechakalyani 

s r 2 s p m 2 p d 2 n a s - n 2 d 2 p m 2 r 2 g 2 m 1 r 3 s. 

(Tn above examples: the anya-svara is denoted with an 
•lie asterisk above it. The numbers accompaying the svaras in the 
ubovc examples denote the komal and tivra by 1 and 2 respectively.) 

The range of svaras in some ragas is limited where the arohana 
does not reach the tara-shadja, and also the range in the lower octave 
is also limited. These ragas are named according to the highest svara 
i cached by them: 

Those having dhaivata as the highest reach are called dhaiva- 
tantya (e.g.) Kuranji. 

Those having panchama as the highest reach are called pancha- 
manlya (e.g.) Navaroj. 

Though the range of these ragas is limited, there are a good 
number of compositions in these ragas replete with musical qualities. 
Many musical forms in these ragas are found in folk music. Since 
llierc is no sanchara in the tara-sthayi, these ragas and compositions 
in them are rendered in madhyama-sruti, (i.e.,) the adhaxa-sruti is 
nl ii lied to suddha-madhayama. 

Since Indian music is purely a melodic system wherein there is 
progress by successions of single notes, as against the harmonic system 
.- wherein there is progress by groups of notes known as chords, the 
nvhIciu of ragas their evolution and classification have become 
mcliculiuiN, artistic and scientific. 


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1 1 

vakra non — vakra 



non - 



— vakra 


arohona — varja 



— varja 


ubhaya - 


- varja 


shadava — sampurna 
audava— sampurna 








-varja— vakra : mukhari (20) s r m 

p n d s s 

n d p 

m g r s 





, 56 



(seven avaras) 

(six svaros) 

(five svaras) 

C x e*pls« > 

No. Typo if Grouping 

1. ahsdavo - sanpurnc 

2. eswptrna- ehedava 

3. Audava— sanpurnn 
<• etepiina-audBve • 

5. eudavs~ahac!ava 

6. ohedev<s»Gudava 

7. shsdava-ehadeva 

8. audava-oudava 

ftaga (derived from mela) 







5ri Renjoni 



srgmpds _ 
s r g i» p d n s 

» r m p d 8 — 

8 r g m p d a a 

s r m p d 8 

e g m p d n a 

a rgmdns 

s r g p n a 

e d p ra g r a 
• nidpv&gre 
a d p g jt s 
a d p si g r s 
s n p ra g s 
8 n d m g r 8 
8 n p g r a 


Raga - Lakshanas 

(1) Mayamalavagowla 

The original name for this raga was Malavagowla. Later, the 
prefix maya was added to suit the katapayadi-sankbya or the 
scheme formulated to decipher the character and classifications of 
musical scales. 

Ramamatya, in his svara-mela-kalanidhi in the chapter on raga 
refers to Mayamalava-gowla as "raganam uttamottamah"- the fore- 
most among the best ragas. 

Mayamalava-gowla is a sampurna raga. In the melakarta 
scheme it falls as the third raga in the third chakra, Agni. 

Arohana : srgmpdni; Avarohana : indpmgrs. j 

Besides shadja and Panchama the notes taken are : 
suddha rishabha, antara gandhara, suddha madhyama, suddha 
dhaivata and kakali nishada. 

Certain characteristics may be observed in the formation of 
this scale mayamalavagowla : * 

1. Four pairs of svaras viz,, s-r 1( g 3 -ra 1 p-d 1 and n 2 -s occupy 
adjacent svarasthanas. 

2. The achala-svaras, shadja and panchama, feature in three 
of the four pair of adjacent svaras. This makes the pro- 
duction of vikrita-svaras easy. As the continuous back- 
ground of the drone gives the svaras sa pa sa simultane- 
ously, the beginner in vocal music gets the support of these 
prakriti-svaras as a sure landing place to reach the vikriti- 
svaras with greater precision. Besides, in the case of instru- 
mental music, fingering is easy because of the adjacent 
position of thes vara-sthanas. 

3. In the fourth pair consisting of gj-m,, the special role o^. 
m„ discussed curlier comes with elfccts, us, here it has n. 

0 II f 


steady quality. As for p.„ even if the slight pull is not 

f. iven, I lie form of I Ik: inga is not ylfecled. 

4. In the nomenclature for svaras, for the purpose of classifi- 
cation of major ragas, the following svaras have dual 
names : 


r.j — cJiatussruti-rishabha ) suddha-gandhara 

g, — sadharana-gandhara, shadsruti-rishabha, 
d;., — chatussruti -dhaivata, suddha-nishada. 
n i — kaisiki nishada shadsruti-daivata. 

The svaras which maintain their names are : 
r x — suddha-rishabha 
g a — antara-gandhara 
nil — suddha-madjiyama 
d x — suddha-dhaivata, and 
n a — kakali-nishada; 

These occur in the raga Mayamalavagowla. 

These characteristics support the selection of 'the scale Maya 
nalavagowla in preference to the others as the ideal one for beginners 
in music. It was Purandara-dasa of the 17th. century who saw the 
aptness of this raga as an initial raga for beginners and formulated 
fundamental oxercises in this scale for students. His pillari gitams 
;irc in raga Malahari which takes the svaras of Mayamalavagowla. 
Since then, the raga Mayamalavagowla withstood challenges arid has 
become an essential base in traditional methods. 

The jeeva svaras of this raga are ga and ni. This raga can be 
taken for and elaborate raga-alapana. Many traditional tunes are 
found in the janyaragas of Mayamalavagowla. Nadanamakriya is a 
nishadantya janya of this raga. The prominance given to^the^madhya- 
masvara in nadanamakriya brings in entirely a new swarupa which is 
very remote from the chhayas of Mayamalavagowla. It can be noted 
here that the simple prayer tune used by the Islam religion has great 
.semblance to this raga. The Bhairava raga of Hindustani music 
corresponds to Mayamalavagowla. 


ffnmhurnM : 

u r p. m p d p d p in g ni p cl n * - • 

N N A f S ,t IN — .f f- g rii g !■ — ft n ,\' f A 

ft n d p m — g m p d n ,( ■— 

r N d p m - g m p d n S nd p m — g in j r j 

Talasidalamu — Rupakam v — Tyagnraja 
Merusamana — Adi — 
Devi F'-'Tp'-.samma — Adi — „ 
Vidulakumrokeda — „ — 
Mayatitasvarupini — Rupaka — Ponnayya 
Devadideva — Rupaka — Mysore 

Sadasiva Kno, 
Devadeva kalayami — Swati Tirunal. 
Ravikotiteja — Matyatala. 


Sankarabharana is a sampurna raga, 29ih. melakarta. To 
suit Katapayadi sankhya, the word 'Dhira' is prefixed to its name. 
In the melakarta scheme it falls as the fifth raga of the fifth chakru 

Arohana : srgmpdns- avarohana : s n d p m g r s 
Besides sadja and panchama, the svaras taken are: 
chatussruti rishabha, antara gandhara, suddha madhyama, 
chatussruti dhaivata and kakali nishada. 

The svaras in the purvanga and the uttaranga occupy the 
exact positions in the octave. Also, the gamaka nokku or a stress 
in the svaras ri and da in the arohana is very similar. In fact, It is 
these p^bnounced gamakas that bring the real svarupa of the raga 
This brings out the vast difference which lies between a scale and o 
raga. This raga corresponds to the major ditonic scale of the 
Western music and Bilaval of Hindustani music, git can be noted 
here that the early lessons in svara-exercises are given in this raga 
in Hindustani system of music and also Western. In Tamil music 
this raga is called pan pazham panjuram. 


lakshana-gita — 


Mention of the raga Sankarabharana is made in Sangita 
Ratnakara, Sangita-makaranda, Raga-vibodha and Sangita-samaya- 
nara. Somantha in his Raga-Vibodha, while explaining the deity- 
based roopas of ragas describes Sankarabhana as a beautiful deity 
of white colour, sddrned with a garland of lotuses, with vibhooti or 
ashes smeared on the forehead, wearing a bloodred garland. This 
seems very apt as literally the word Sankarabharana means an orna- 
ment of Siva, the Lord of natya or dance clad in deer skin, adorned 
with serpants as garlands, with his forehead and body smeared with 

Sankarabharana is a very ancient raga, particular phrases are 
vory prominent such as i D p and g m dpp R s, s d £JS. A prolong- 
able antara gandhara is very characterestic of Sankarabharana, 
whare as a slight andolita gamaka given to this staight antara gan- 
dhara brings in tnesvarupaof Kalyani, the corresponding prati-madh- 
nyma-mela. Janta-svara and dhat-svara proyogas are liberally 
used in this raga. 

Such as pp mm gg mm, rr gg mm pp and f n-s d-n d-d m p 

U m r-g s. 

Slokas, padyams and viruttams are sung in this raga. 

All types of musical forms are found in this raga and its many 


Smicharas : 

SPmgmr-gmpdnS- SsnsRs- 
inJrG-fgmgf s-nsRs DP 
mgmpdns-r n-sd-np-mgM 

Compositions : 

Vijitamadanavilasa - druvatala 
Are Dasaratha - simhananda 

Vara nam : 

Sami nmni 

Adi • Vina Kuppiar 
Ata I Swati Tlrunal 


Pada-varnam : 

Ati Moha, Maname bhashanarnu. 

Pa da : 

Challa nayenu - Triputa - Kshetragna 

Ewada bhama - Misram - 

Dari juchu - chapu - Mavallur 

Sabhapaty iyer 

Nalia nalla nilavu - Adi - Ghanam 

Krishna !y«r 

Tarangam : 

Sri Vasudeva - Chapu - Narayana Tirtha 

Ashtapadi : 

Pasyati pasyati - Triputa - Jayadeva 

Kritl : 

Evaragu juchinadi - Adi - Tyagaraja 

Etutanilichite - 

Endukuapeddala - „ 

Buddhiradu - Chapu - 

Bhakribhiksha - Rupaka - % 

Manasusvadeenamai - 

Mariyadagadura - Adi 

Svararagasudharasa - - 

Nagalingam - „ Muthuswami 


Akshayalinga vibho - Chapu - 
Sarojadalanetri - Adi - Syama Sastry 

Devi Meenanetti - - 
Mahimateliyatarama - Rupaka - Annayya 
Sri Haripala m - Ata - Tallappakkam 


Nrttyuti nrityati - Adi - SvatiTirunal 



Divyanama : 

Kritis of Tyagaraja: 
Ramaaramana raaraa - Adi 
Raama ninnuvina - Rupaka 
Paripalaya dasarathe - Chapu 

Sri Raghuvara - Rupaka 


Pahi Ramachandra - Adi 

Rama Seetarama 

Varaleeia - tisra laghu 

Seetapati - Adi 

Evidhamu - 

t Out of the six murcchana-karaka-melas (i.e., mela capable of 
Voiding a murchhana or another mela by graha-bheda or modal 
•■liift of tonic) Sankarabharana is one. Since there are only six 
possible shifis of the tonic the maximum murchhanas from a mela 
« .111 only be five. 

The murchhanas yielded in Sankarabharana; 

Rishabha murchhana Karaharapriya 

Gandhara fj Hanumatcdi 

Madhyama Mechakalyani 

Panchama Harikambhoji 

Dhaivata „ Nat.iabhairavi 

:>liiininukh<:priya : 

olunmukhapriya is a mela in the uttara group of melakartas. 
M r, ilto -socond raga in the tenth chakra Disi. It's. serial number 

*, lib, 


nusidos shadja, and panchama, the svaras takan are : chatus- 
niilii risli.ililin, „sadharana gandhara, pratimadhyama, suddha 
illiiiivaiii unci k.iisiki nishada. r 

Hi i;oir)!-;>ontlirig melo in tho purva group is nnthsbhairavi. 
An n inuii,lihimnk«rttkii inula. Uhtiimiukhapnyu yields thruo murch- 
l tiii i tin: 



1. gandhara murcbhana is Sulini, melakarta number 35; 

2. Panchama murchhana is Dhenuka, mslakarta number 9 

3. dhaivata murchhana is Chitrambari, mela number 66. 

There have been no compositions in the ragas Shamukhapriya 
and Nathabhairavi in the pre-Tyagaraja period. Vaddenevaru is the 
only composition of Tyagaraja in Shanmukhapriya raga. The raga 
of the composition Chetulara is very controversal. There is a 
version of this in Natabhairavi, another version in Bhairavi and yet 
.another in Karaharapriya. 

The compositions of Patnam Subramania Iyer (Marivera 
dikkevaraiya Rama) and those of Papanasam Sivan (Andavane, Om 
Saravana) have brought into light the lustre of the raga Shanmukha- 
priya. Koteswara Iyer's composition also has contributed to this. 
This raga has become so popular since last century that many 
modern musicians take up this raga for alspana, neraval, kalpana- 
svara and other details in pallavi-rendering. In ragamalika series in 
the exposition of viruttams also, Shanmukhapriya features often. 

A peculiarity in the sanchara around dhaivata in this raga it 
that sometimes the chatussruti variety is used as in the start 


P d n d N 

•f the kriti - a.nda van*. Here when the prolonged nishada Is 
rendered with gamaka or oscilations, the position of the proceeding 
dhaivata gets heightened, and the chhaya of chattus sruti creeps in, 
through the raga is not bhashanga, but a sampurna mela. 

This raga is capable of high emotional expression and so this 
it has become a very popular raga- 


g i ■ o P - V R S - 


Mohana is a janya of the 28th. Molakarta Harikambhoji. It 
in .in iiiKl.ivii, varja, upanga raga. The varja svaras are ma and ni. 

Aruliana ; s r g p d s 
Avarohana .- .<■ d p g r s 

Ui?sidt:s shadja and panchama, svaras taken are : 
chatussruti rishabha, antaragandhara and chatussruti 


Mohana. is one of the oldest ragas on earth. It features in 
almost .ill the systems of music in the world. This is because of the 
quality of ease and naturalness of the svaras. As shadja and 
p. mi hama are the only prakriti-svaras or natural notes which do not 
.i.lutt of varieties, it is natural for the voice to reach the fifth note 
whon tf 10 ,'idhara or the fundamental is soundad, i. e., the principle 
<»i the cycle of fifths is easy to adopt. When shadja is taken, its fifth 
r. panchama. Then the panchama of the panchama is chatussruti- 
M'.hahha, end in the next step, the panchama of chatussruti rishabha 
■■. chatussruti dhaivata, and in the further step we get the antara 
u-imlhnra. But in view of the calculations oft he frequency values, 
flu;, antara gandhara becomes slightly higher (by a comma or 81/80) 
than the true harmonic antara gandhara (of velue |). Stopping at 
iIidms steps, and looking back, we find that the svaras obtained are 
iln>:,n of the Mohana-raga. Another method of arriving at these svaras 
will be 1 : Starting with the antaragandhara, the principle of samvadi^ 
iIivh gives rise (here the relationship of shadja to suddhamadhyama) 
to cliatussruti dhaivata. The reason for starting at gandhara is that 
m is as important a svara as shadja and panchama for the reasons : 

^ * 1 . Like shadja and panchama, the upper-partialor harmonic 
heard at the position of antara gandhara on a stretched 
vibrating string is the svara itself in the higher octave I.e., 
these are svayambhu-svaras. 

* 2. When tne prakiti svaras, shadja and panchama are 
sounded simultaneously, the swara heard faintly will be 
the antara-gandhara, bringing in the principle of summa- 
tion of tones. 



Starting with rishabha which is the fifth of the fifth, its fifth 
already noted is the chatussruti dhaivata. Thus the principles of 
samvadithva, the relationship of shadja-madhyama and shadja- 
panchama, the svaras of the Mohana-raga are obtained. 

It can also be noted that the four strings of the western 
viola are tuned in the manner of fifths as the notes, ' C G D A ' 
or the svaras sa pa ri 2 da 2 . 

As Mohana is a very ancient raga, there are many tunes simple 
and catchy in folk music. Even in the street-theatres of villages 
performing programmes resembling the operas, for example the 
Mohiniyattam, the entire backround music is based only on the 
svara*s of the Mohana-raga. Even in the operatic music of Japan, 
this aspect is seen. 

In the hands of the vaggeyakaras of Carnatic music, Mohana- 
raga has been shaped with classicism. This raga corresponds to 
Bhup of the'Hindustani system of music. The influence of this on 
the Carnatic system tends students of music to bring in the touch of 
kakali-nishada in the prayoga s d p . In carnatic style, the 
dhaivata of Mohana is not always a steady straight note. It is mostly 
rendered with a kampita or oscilation or a nokku or a stress. 

Sancha-ras : 

gpdU-D gfiD-pdsfsdpG- 



Compositions : 

G'.tam — Varaveena mridupani — Rupakam 
Varnams — Pallavi Doraiswami Iyer, 

Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar and Vina Kuppier. 
Kritis — Bhavanuta — Adi — Tyegarsja 
Nannu Palimpa — „ — „ 
Mohana Rtfme — „ — 

Evarure — chapu — '" 

Enpellikkondeerelyya Arunachalakavl 



Pedda devudani 
Tarangam-Kshemam kuru 
Javali — Mohameila 

— Mysore Sadasiva Rao 

— Narayana Theerta 

— Pattabhiramayya 


Sriranjani is a derivative of kharaharapriya, the 22nd mela. 
It is a shadava upanga, varja raga, the vajra-svara being panchama. 


s r g m d n s 
§ n d m g r s 

The purvanga and uttaranga group of svaras occupy symme- 
trical positions, Besides shadja, svaras taken by the raga are : 
Uiatussrutinishaba, sadarana gandhara, suddha madhyama , chatus- 
siuti dhaivata and kaisiki nishada. Since panchama is varja, impor- 
tnnce is given to suddha madhyama in this raga. This can be seen ' 
by the fact that the two of the krltis of Tyagaraja, Brocherevar© 
mid Marubalka commence with this svara. 

As panchama is vajra, in the drone accompaniment on the 
Hiombura, the panchama-string is v not twanged, some vainikas 
change the panchama in the tala-strings to madhyama while render- 
ing the raga Sriranjani or any composition in a panchama-vajra-rage 

The nearest corresponding raga to Sriranjani in Hindustani 
music is Bhagesri. 

S.incharas : 

fsndmgrG-gmdns-ngrg £ r - 
' n f r vndM-grG-ndmgR-gmdngr- 

G - gmgrs-nrsnd^I-rsns 

(Compositions : 

Kntis Brochevararevere - Adi - "f/agaraja 

Marubalka - 

Soya suya - rupaka - ,, 

Bhuvini d .sudan - desadi - 

Sari evvnro - ,, ,, 

Sridumduroo - Kanda 

Brochutnku - Adi 

Muthuswomi Dikshater 
Kiirur Diikshinumurthv 



Hamsadhvani : 

Hamsadhvani is a|janya of 29th. mela Dhira sankarabharanam, 
An audava-upanga varja raga, the varja svaras being madhyama 
and dhaivata. 

Arohana : s r g p n s 

Avarohana : s n p g r s. 

Besides shadja and panchama, svaras 'taken are chatussruti 
rishabha, antara gandhara and kakali nishada. - 


Hamsadhvani raga is the creation of Ramaswami Dikshitar, 
father of Muthuswami Dikshitar. Hence, the compositions in this 
ragas are only from Tyagaraja period 

The phrase S g., p and its corresponding pattern from- 
parrehema, which is p n„ r, are called major chords in western 
music This raga Hamsadvani consists these two chords and also 
these are the only svaras taken by it. 

In Hfmsadvani, if d L , comes in place of n.,, it becomes 
Mohana. Yftt there is a vast difference between the two ragas, 
even in the common ssncharas formed with r T and g 2 associated 
with sadja and panchama. This is because of the soft tone of the 
tissruti-daivata in Mohana and the majestic sppearaces of Kakali- 
nishada in Hamsadvani. Both are murchhanakara ragas but with 
Hamsadvani we get only one pleasing rnurchhana from panchama 
resulting in the raga nagaswara n, whereas in Mohana, ali its svaras 
yield pleasant audava scales s 

From rishabha, the rnurchhana is Madhyamavati, 
from gandhara, ' Hmdolam, 

from gandhara, " " " Saddhasaveri, and 

from panchama ~> "' " Suddhadhanyasi. 

Thin rnyn 1b odon tnkan ot tho c on n i nctn cnt of a concert 


IMOPP gpnmpG-igpnjR- 
ggppnnf fnnpg-igpnifjpf i 

Kritis : 

Vatapi Ganapatim Bhajeham- Adi-Muthuswami Dikshitar. 

Karunaikkadale - Papanasam Sivan 

Saa sabha nibhonibha- 

Manasugarugademi - Patnam Subrahmani Iyer 

Sri raghukulamandu - Tyagaraja 

Adi-tala-varnam - jalajaksha - Patnam Subramani Iyer 



Introduction : 

In the first lesson a brief reference was made to the nature 
of tala, which we said had to do with the duration of a song. This 
lesson is devoted exclusively to the discussion of the concept of 
tala, to the understanding of the various elements of tala and to 
the description of the various types of talas. 

What is tala? Tala can simply be understood as time 
measure which is of the nature of time or which is a unit of time 
with which we measure the duration of other activities. 

What is the function of tala? Tala has more than one 
"function. Firstly it measures the duration of songs like gitam, 
vrrnam krti. Secondly tala regulates the flow of these songs. 
Thirdly tala coordinates different activities like that of a 
singer and of a mrdangam performer in a music concert or 
like those of a dancer. Singer and the mrdangam performer 
in a dance concert. What do the above statements measu- 
ring the duration", "regulating the flowjof music" and /coordina- 
ting activities" mean? To understand these statements, let us 
examine them one by one. 

1. Tala measures the duration of songs. Normally in day-to- 
day life, we measure .the duration of any event with the 
help of a clock. For instance, if we wish to measure the duration 
of the journey by train from Madras to Bangalore, we take a clock 
or a watch and measure it to be of say six hours. Or the duration 
taken by a runner to cover a distance of 100 metres, is* measured 
by a clock as being of, say, eleven seconds. Similarly tala is like a 
clock with whicrr we measure the duration of a song. For instance, 
Adi tala is a measure of eight units or aksaras. When this Ad? tala 
is rendered along with the singing of the varnam "Ninnukori", we 
fmd that the pallavi of the song is of the duration of two such Adi 
tala measures, i.e. two cycles or avartas of Adi tala. The anu- 
pallavi is of the duration of two avartas and the muktsyl svara of 
two avartas. Thus we can compute the duration of the entire 

2 Tain. w« say. regulates the flow of the nong. Talklnrj 
again our example of tho varna "Ninnukorl" we find lhat thrj sonu 
han a flow exhibiting a pattern of four svaras. o.g. 

G G - R ; - ssrr - g grr - srgr - srsd - srgp - grsr - 
gpgg - rsrg - rrsd - srgr - gp gp - dpds - D pg - dpgr. 

Tho duration of each svara must be uniform throughout and 
Bimilarly the duration of the group of four svaras must also bo 
uniform. For instance, the time taken by the phrase "GG" must 
bo the same as that of "R;" which in turn must be the same as 
that of "ssrr", "ggrr", etc. To ensure this uniformity in the flow 
of svaras, in rendering the Adi tala we have the actions of hands 
occuring at regular intervals. Whithln the duration of two succes- 
mvo actions each group of four svaras should be rendered. That is 
iho eight actions of four Adi-tala, namely (l) striking with the 
right palm, (2) bringing dffwn the little finger, (a) the ring finger, 
(4) tho middle finger, followed by (5) striking with the palm, 
(>>) waving the hand with the palm facing upwards, (7) striking the 
palm, (3) waving the hand with the palm facing upwards-all these 
actions are rendered at uniform intervals. Between two successive 
actions the number cf sveras of the varna to be sung are four. Since 
the actions of hand occur at uniform intervals, the uniformity 
in the How of the svaras will b'a maintained automatically. 

l hus tala through its actions occurring at specified intervals 

will regulate the flew of the song. If, however, there is a flaw in 

the rendering of the tala, then the flow or the song will be affected 
and will go astray. 

3. it was said above that tala coordinates various 

Let us try to understand this function of tala. In a music 
concert we uaually have the main artist, a singer or vlna player, 
for instance, accompanied Dy a player on the mrdangam. The 
'singer renders a song, while on the mrdangam the artist renders 
certain patterns of syllaoles. While the song is in the nature of 
svaras of varying pitches, the mrdangam performer renders some 
combinations of syllables which might at times correspond to the 
flow of the song and, at times, be contrasted to it. In any case the 



uctivitios of tho singer and the mrdar.gist are different but both are 
guided by t.ila and ' conform to it. Whatever pattern a mrdangam 
player weaves within an avarta of tala, he must conclude at the end 
of the avarta if the singer also concludes there. 

Take, for instance, our day-to-day life. We see that the 
clock coordinates various activities. For instance, in our own 
schools and colleges, after we depart in the evening, each one of 
us has hlu own set of activities, but again all of us reassemble at 
10.0' clock the next morning for classes. So it is the clock which 
coordinates different activities and acts as string connecting a 
variety of beads. Thus in a rough way we may say that tala is a 
musician's clock. 

Having thus understood the functions of tala, let us examine 
the various elements of tala under the heads of the various technical 
terms listed in our syllabus. Before we go on to that we must 
remember that tala accompanies only the performance of songs, 
neraval and kalpana svara. During the singing of alapana and 
viruttam there is no rendering of tala. 

Technical Terms 

1. Ak.$ara-kala : This is the basic and most fundamental 
time unit with which we make bigger sections of time to serve as 
measures. For instance, in life, the normal basic time unit is a 
'second' which is the duration of time which elapses between the 
moving of. the pendulum of a clock from left to right i.e., the time 
between two t'eks of a clock. Similarly, the time which elapses 
between two successive actions of the hands is an ak?ara-kala. 
Since the speed of rendering the actions of hands can vary, the 
aksara-kala unit is also not a precise measure but is a variable or 
rough measure. In a fairly moderate speed of rendering a tala, an 
aksara of time could be very roughly equated to one second. 

Thus in Adi tala we have eight actions repeated in the form 
of cycles. The duration between two" successive actions being one 
aksara-kala, the entire Adi tala represents a section of eight 
akjara-kalas. Similarly Ata (tala having fourteen actions, represents 
a section of fourteen aksara-kalas. Aksarakala is. also refered to 
simply as aksara. 

72 701 

2. Avarta : Avarta simply means repetition and, in th» 
context of tala, it indicates the repetition of the actions contained 
in tula sections like Adi tala and Ata tala. While an aksara-kala is 
i ho most fundamental and smallest unit of time, time sections ljk& 
Adi tula and Ata tala made up a number of aksara-kalas, act a s 
hiuger measures. These bigger measures, rendered a number of 
times, serve, in measuring the duration of songs, and thus, as we 
have seen above, the pallavi of the varriam "Ninnukori" is of the 
duration of two avartas (of Adi tala). Thus when tala sections 
liko Adi and Ata are used for measuring songs, the word avarta is- 
usod to refer to each cycle of repetition of those time sections. 

3. Kriya : means simply action. Tala is a device fo r 
moasuring time duration. And hence it must also be of the nature 
of time. For expressing this nature of time we require actions 
Huch that tha duration between two actions or the period of inaction 
luitween two actions is standardised and becomes the basis for 
moasuring biggar durations of songs. Thus kriya refers to the basic 
nations of hands which manifest the time units serving as 

In the present day system there are chiefly three kinds of 
kriyas seen in talas. The first is the striking of the right palm on 
iho thigh or on the left palm. This is called ta/ru or ghatam. The 
i.i)i:ond kriya is the waving of the right hand such that the open 
p ilm faces upwards. This is called viccu or visarjitam. The third 
.■ction involves the downward movement/of the different fingers of 
1 1 hi hand. This is called viral-etjijikkai or anguli-niyama. Of these 
ihruj kinds of kriya, the execution of ta«u or ghatarn is accom- 
panied by the production of sound. Hence it is called sasabda- 
kiiya. \Sabda' means sound and 'sasabda' means 'along with 
sound'. The other two kriyas, mamely, viccu and viral-eppikkai are 
•willed nihAabda kriyas, i.e., devoid of sound. 

The Adi tala as mentioned earlier consists of eignt actions,, 
uninuly the ta//u, the movement of little finger, ring finger, middle 
finuur. a tu//u, a viccu, a tattu and aylccu. The duration between any 
Mi<;i;obsivt> kriyas, for instance, a ta((u and viccu, manifests the time 
unit of one aksara-kala. Thus kriya denotes the basic actions that 
muniloiit the time duration of a tala. 

4. I iiyii Lnyn denotes tho period of inaction or absence 
of action hntwotin two knynt or li is ilia rust mat follows a kriya 



commences. Wheh the period of rest between two kriyas is long 
each avarta takes a longer time for completion. Now the tala is- 
said to be in vilambita laya. When the period of rest between two 
actions is too small each avarta of tala is completed in quick 
succession and the tala is said to be in druta laya. When the 
period of rest between two kriyas is neither long nor short and the 
avarta is completed in medium time, the tala is said to be in 
madhya laya. 

We have seen that laya means the period ef rest between 
two kriyas and we have also seen that this duration is what 
marks the aksarakala measure and thus in a way, laya is also the 
time measure of kala-mana or *aia-pramana. The word 'mana' or 
'pramana' also means magnitude or measure and the term *kala- 
prama/ia' is quite often used as a synonym for laya. In Karna'ak 
music parlanee, the term kala-pramana has a more popular usage. 

5. Graha (Eduppu) : This term relates to the connection 
between the tala and the song. Graha or eduppu. literally means to 
grasp or to catch hold of. And the svara which we catch hold of 
or sing at the commencement of a song of an alapana is called the 
graha svara. • In the context of tala, graha refers to the precise 
moment during the rendering of the song when the tala starts. 
When the tala and song commence at the same instant, it is called 
same graha or sama eduppu. When the time of commencement of 
the tala and that of the song do not coincide, then such a graha 
can be of two types. The first is called anagata graha where the 
tala commences first and after the lapse of some time the song 
commences. For instance tha song "Marivere dikkgvaraiya rama", 
in §anmukhapriya commences after the lapse of 1£ aksarakala of Ad 
tala. The other kind of gduppu Is atita gduppu where after the 
song has already commenced, the tala commences after the lapse of 
some time. e.g. in the song 'Siva kamasundari" in Mukhari raga. 
tile tala starts only after the two letters 'siva' have been sung. / 













oama eduppu- 



















/Miia biva 






Gati (Nadai; : One more term that we need to understand 
in the context of tala is 'Gati' or 'Nadai'. Gati or nadai simply, 
moans gait. In life we say "This man's gait is different from that 
man's". This could mean that the number of steps one takes in 
iho same time. In music also nadai refers to the gait of the song. 
Iho number of svaras or, to be more precise, the number of stres- 
ses or pulses of melody which occur in one aksarakala determines 
i ho nadai of the song. There are songs of different nadais, namely 
ono svara or stress, two, three and so on. The gati of two, four 
or oight stresses is called caturasra gati, that of three stresses is 
<:allod tryas'ra gati; that of five, khanda; that of seven, misra and 
flmt of nine, safikrirna. For instance, the varnam Ninnukori cited 
iibove has a caturasra, nadai. 

Having seen some of the technical terms occuring in tala, we 
now proceed to understand the structures of the various talas 
liduring in our system. 


The talas occuring in our musical system can be roughly 
divided into two types, (a) those talas in which the number of is oqual to the total aksarakala value of the tafa, (the famous 
unpin talus and the thirty-five tala varieties come under this cate- 
gory) «nd (b) those trilas in which the number of kriyas is not equal 
-lo iho iik'.ornkiilas attributed to them. The different enpu talas, the 
<liiMii(li unci mndhyadi talas and the short rupaka tala come under 
this category. 

a) Snptntnlua and the Schema of Thirty-five Talas : 

Dhruvn, Muthyn, Rwpukn, Jhompn, Triputa, Alo and Eka an* 
nnmn* of thn unpta tn Inn And iho nmnu nmiiun figured in the 



talas of the ancient musical forms, suladi prabandhas. These tfilas 
were therefore known as suladi sapta talas, Through the process 
of changes made in their structure these ttflas are expanded to 
thirty-five in number. The thirty-five tolas aie formulated through 
a scheme which will be explained below. But before we go on to 
that we have to understand two more aspects of talas namely Ang'a 
and Jati. 

Atiga : We have mentioned earlier that aksarakala is the 
fundamental and smaller unit of tala. And it was said that tala-s 
like adi and ata were time spans made up of a number of akaara- 
kala-s and which served as measures. But these tala-s like adi 
are themselves made up of cenain smaller time sections called the 
"Anga -s"', or the limbs of tala. All tala-s axcept the Eka tala 
are made up of two or more anga-s. The number of such 
that we come across is sevan. Their durations are of i, 2, 3, 4, 
5, 7, and 9 aksarakalas, The first is an anga called anudruta and 
is of one aksara duration. The second is called druta and is of two 
aksara duration. The remaining are viewed not as five separate 
angas but five varieties of a single ai?ga called Laghu. Under 
laghu we have five types, namely laghu of is aksara durations of 
4, 5, 7 and 9 aksara duration. These varying durations of Laghu 
are referred to as jatis of laghu. 

Jati: As mentioned above. Laghu stands for a class of 
time sections. There are five different time sections in this class 
and they aie distinguished by the different jatis qualifying the 
laghu. In other words 'Jati' describes the different types of laghu. 
Jati literally means 'class'. There are five classes or jatis-caturasra, 
tryasra, khapda, misra and sankirna. The durations of the laghus 
classified under the various jatis are given below. 

Caturasra iati laghu — 4 aksaras 

Tryasra jati laghu — 3 aksaras 

Misra jati laghu — 7 aksaras 

Khapda jati laghu — 5 aksaras 

Sankirna jati laghu — 9 akgaras 

The application of the term 'Jati' used for classifying laghus 
is extended to classifying the talas in which these laghus occur v 
Fbr instance, that variety of Dhruva tala in which khapda jati laghu 
occurs Is alio referred to as kharjda jati dhruva tala. This Kind of 



designation also ensures that, in a tala. if more than one laghu 
occurs, then all the laghus will be of the jati to which the tala be- 

Thus jati, when applied to laghu defines the duration of the 
'■gnu and, when applied to a tala. defines the variety to which all 
the laghus, occuring in it. will belong. Thus, as seen above 
Khanda jati laghu means that the duration of the laghu is of five 
"K.saras. And khanda jati dhruva tala means that all the three 
laghus occur as limbs of the tala are of khanda jati variety. 

Now we shall see how a tala can be broken up into small 
angas. For instance in the adi tala of 8 aksarakala duration there 
-re three a»ga-s. These are Caturasra jati laghu of 4 aksarakala-s, 
followed by a druta of 2 aksarakala-s and another druta of 2 

«k. v arakala-s. 

T "'a Adi — Cat.laghu + Druta + Druta 

Aksarakala 8—4 2 2 

Similarly the ata tala of 14 aksarakala-s is made up of 
M ojda jaf laghu of 5 aksarakala-s, followed by another khanda- 
l»ti laghu and two druta-s. 

Ata tdla = K.laghu + K.laghu + Druta + Druta 

14 = 5 +5+2 + 2 

Thus anga is a limb or portion of tala of specific duration 
I" our tala system we find that the kriyas executed to express 
.l.ffurent types of angas are also specified. For each anga the 
-umbor of kriyas is equal to the number of aksarakalas. Anudruta 
one aksarakala has one kriya, druta of two aksarakalas 
' <lM tW ° knyiis ' tf y a « ra la 9hu has three kriyas and so on. The 
l»«t kr,y A of any anga is s tatru. The laghu starts with a taffu 
Mluwod by finger movements starting with the little fingers 
>«'Yf» '"Ohu will have a t./fu followed by two finger counts. 
♦H lo finger and ring finger). 2) Caturasra laghu wilt have a tarn. 
»l«ow,d by throe finger counts. 3) Khanda laghu a ta/ t U followed 
•y lonr mger counts. 4) In rninre laohu 'there will bo a ta,,u 
Mlowod by u ,x finger counts consisting of the five fingers and then 
going heck to the li»,r 0 Jlngar. B) In aankirna laghu will be u 
»«ltiU.»llowed by •igl.l linger counu- ffirmly the rive linger, and 



then again the little; *ing- and middle fingers. In druta there is a 
taifu andi viccu and anudruta consists of a single tatju., Laghu 
figures in all the taias, druta. does, not occur in one while anudruta 
occurs in only one tala. 

Angas of Sapta tales ; Now we shall have a look at the 
angas that make up the seven talas. 


1 . 

unruva xaia 1 

— laghu + druta + laghu + laghu 


Mathya tala : 

— laghu + druta + laghu 


RtJpaka tala : 

— druta + laghu 


Jhampa-taJa : 

— laghu + anudruta + druta 


Triputa. tala: 

— laghu + druta + druta* 


Ata tala : 

— laghu. + laghu + druta + druta 


Eka tala : 

— laghu. 

In-the above seven talas all the laghus figuring in a particular- 
tala eaabalong to any of the five varieties^ namely tryasra, caturasra, 
kha$daHmisra,,and sa«kirna mentioned above. Thus, for, instance,, 
in dhruva tala all the ;hrea laghus should, -be of aayone of the. five 
varieties and if, for example,, the khanda laghu occurs, then the tala 
will have trn structure k. laghu + druta + k. laghu + k. laghu-. 
And, as statedaoove, when the variety of laghu is khanda, the tala is 
referred to as belonging. to the khanda, jati or the class of khanda. 
Thus each of the seven tala has five varieties according to the five 
jati-s to wnich it bilon^s. Tnus, for instance, there are five kinds 
of Dhruva tala. 

1. Tryasra jati Dhruva tala 

2. Caturasra jati Dhruva tala 
3 Khanda jati Dhruva tala 
4. Mmra j:iti Dhruva tala 

6. Sankrif/a jiitl Dhruva t.ila 


The structure of those five t„„ is as follows- 

iaghu + tryasra laghu. 

2 - CqturaSra jati dhmva Mb 

anruva u\ a - camera laghu + druta + 

caturasra laghu + caturaSra laghu. 

:i Khandajatidhruvatala ._ K f ia „rf a i k 

'aghu + Khanda laghu. 

4. MiArajatidhruva tala _ mi4ra , a „. 

lagnu + miira laghu. 

* Sa/ikirpa jati diruva tala - saAki,„ a i u 

sankirna lajhu + druta + sa/ikirna 
•agnu -f sarikirna laghu. 

by"™'::, , u Li a ,r,r a ' hi '" «-«<- 

v..,..ios„n a ghaata t i mo .7x5=35 ' °" «™ 

-^ g ~tr ^ b rrr fthe 
-::-otd s isr ^£ £ 5K 

—bar of aZakalalwr f; T of ,89hu wi » *™ 

J-u'-.1 s . The,! ty fl Ve aTas ha 7 ^ ^ 
.,.„,«„. V flVB t3,aS have als ° been given individual 

N " Tala 

1 Uliruva 
'•' Dhruva 
1 Dhruva 
\ -Ohruvu 
fc Moih^a 

M*|hy B 
N M«(hya 






1*0 1, 

3+ 2 + 3 + 3 

= 11 


ho i 4 i 4 


= 14 



= 17 


1 7 0 1, i 7 




V 1 2+9+9= 





' '0 


K0 )„ 

5 12 | 5 12 








1,0 1 7 

7 + 2+7 = 16 





] 3 0 1, 

9 + 2+9 = 20 





0 1 3 

2 + 3 = 5 





0 L 

2 + 4=6 





0 2. 

2 + 5=7 





0 1, 






0 l e 

2+9 = 11 











1.U 0 






1 5 U 0 






1,U 0 






1 9 U 0 






1,0 0 






1 4 0 0 






] s 0 0 






1,0 0 

7 + 2+2= 11 





1 9 0 0 

9+2 + 2= 13 




Trvasr a 

1,1,0 0 

3 + 3+2+2= 







1J 4 0 0 







1.1.0 0 







1,1,0 0 







IJnO 0 
* 9 It v 













J 4 












1 7 









In the above table we find that caturasra jati triputa tafa is 
given the name Adi ta4a and it is by this name that the tala is 
popularly known. But somehow the names of the other talas havs 
remained unfamiliar. 



We also find that even though the 35 talas have to be referred 
by their jatis, in practice, the tala names without the prefixing of 
ilin jliti refers to one particular variety of the tala. For instance? 
mi (jeneral, the term dhruva tala would refer to all the five kinds of 

• llmiva tala, yet in particular, : just the term Dhruva, tala refers to 
< ;iturasra jati dhruva tala alone. Caturasra jati dhruva tala may 
;ilone be referred to simply as dhruva tala. The other four varieties 
will have to be referred to what the jati names prefixed to them. 
Mmilar.y the other six tala names when used without , : any prefixing 
d| jati names refer to one particular variety. 

The whole list is given below. 

1. Dhruva tala - Caturasra jati dhruva tala 

2. Mathya tala - Caturasra jati mathya tala 

3. Rupaka tala - Caturasra jati rupaka tala 

4. Jhampa tala - Misra jati jhampa tala 

5. Triputa tela - Tryasra jati triputa tala 

6. Ata tala - Khanda jati ata tala 

7. Eka tala - Caturasra jati eka tr-la 

Students will see that the sapta tala alamkr.ras are set in 
Hiii'-.i! seven talas mentioned here. 

It should also be borne in mind that the above 35 tala' 

• npti'sont a scheme arrived at by applying the 5 jati division to the 
Iiiish : seven talas. They .do not represent the talas in actual use. 
In l.u:i, only a minorita of the talas are seen to be employed in 
riinipositions. Some talas are used only forsetting Pallavis as part 
ol iht) Al.ipana-Tanam-Pallvai from. Alaiikaras have been composed 
in jiII l ho 35 talas but they are rarely learnt. 

Extension of the Duration of the 35 Talas 

l ar.h of thoso talas can be rendered with its total duration 
(louhlnU or quadrupled by repeating each kriyfl twice or four times. 
In Titit.h cusos the forms of the tala are respectively known as 
iuiu<Juku|o (ilvikulu) or nnluku|ni (tntmjknUi). In other words 



when the tala is rendered with the specified kriyas being executed 
once, it is orukalai (ekakala.) When each kriya is rendered twice 
it is irapdukajai or dvikala and when each kriya is rendered four 
times it will be nalukajai, or catusgala. For example, in Adi tala 
rendered in orukajai, the eight kriyas, namely, the ta«u, little finger 
ring finger, middle finger, tattu, viccu, tattu and viccu will be 
exceuted once. When each kriya is rendered twice, i.e. two tatttus* 
little finger twice, ring finger twice and so on, the tala avarta will 
take double the duration to be completed and this from of tala ren- 
dering would be called Adi tala-irapdukalai or dvikala Adi tala. In 
nalukajai or catu^kala Adi tala, each kriya will be rendered four 
times and consequently the tala will take four times the duration ol 
the ekakala from. 

The other Talas 

There are other talas in use in various musical forms of ou 
musical system. There are- 

1. Misracapu 

2. Khandacapu 

3. Rupaka tala - short variety 

4. Desadi 

5. Madhyadi. 

The main feature of these talas is that only two kinds Of 
kriyas are seen to be employed in their execution. That is, only 
the tattu and viccu are used and not viralen^ikkai. Further we 
do not use the term afiga context of these talas as there are no 
formulations of time sections like laghu, druta and anudruta. Ano- 
ther features seen in some of these talas is that the kriyas occuring 
in these talas are not uniformly of the same duration. In the 35 
tala scheme seen earlier we observed that the kriyas were all of 
uniform duration. This however is not the case in some of the 
talas listed in this group Let us now ; study the structure of these 

1. Misracapu- There are three time units in this tala. 
The first one is one and a half times the duration of the 
following two. 



! I I 

I CD I 0) I (i) 
i I I 

All the three times units are manifested through the Ikriya 
tattu, i.e.. there are three tattus in the excution of this tala. Some 
times the first .kriya is seen to be rendered as vlccu instead of a 
tattu. It does not make much different since the completion of an 
avarta of the tala is felt by the unevenness in the duration of the 
kriyas rather than through the difference in kriyas. 

The mi'sra capu tala may also be viewed as a very abbreviated 
form of the tryasra jati Triputta Triputa tala rendered fast 

and with the nihsabda kriya unexecuted would appear like Miira 
capu-tala. For this reason the Misra capu tala is also attributed a 
tolal aksarakala value of seven. The distribution of the aksara 
value among the three units would be 3 + 2 + 2 = 7. 

It is however to b3 remembered that, unlike the 35 talas, in 
this tala there are not as many kriyas as there are aksras. In some 
musical compositions this tala is seen to be employed with the 
order of kriyas changed, i. e. the longer kriya comes in the middle 
and somatimes at the end. The three types of the tala are 
illustrated below. 












. 3 

2. IChard Capu - There are two time units in this tala 
The second unit has a duration one and a half times of the first. 

(U) 0) 

Both the time units are manifested by the kriya tattu. i. e. 
there are two tattus in this tala. 

Tha Khapda capu tala may also be views as a fast or abbre- 
viated form of tryasra jati Rupaka tala. Tryasra jati RiJpaka til la, 
when rendered fast and with the nihsabda kriyas unexecuted would 
gppeur like Khagda cflpu tola. For this reason thegiotal duration of 
hit tnla Is expressed as live ekger&s. 



Note : Normally when merely the word Capu tala is used 
it refers to Misra capu tfilas. To indicate Khanda- 
capu it has to be specifically mentioned. 

th - «;P a !« tala (short variety):- There are three units in 

th,s ta.a. All of them are of uniform duration. The three kriy«s 
manifesting the three time units are two tattus and one viccu. 

This tala may be viewed as the caturaira jati Rupaka tala 
rendered fast, with its nihsabda kriyas remaining unexecuted. That 
.s when the Rupaka tala is rendered with only the commencing 
tattus of druta and laghu being rendered in a pronounced way and 
the other knyas being kept numamfest, then the abbreviated form of 
Rupaka tala appears (however a viccu is added in short Ropaka to 
sustam the duration of the second kriya of a long measure). For 
this reason this tala is also called Rupaka and is attributed duration 
ot six aksaras. 

4. Desadi tala : This tala has four time units. All the 
•me umts or of uniform duration. There are four kriyas, namely, 
two tattus, one viccu and one tattu, manifesting these time units. 

There is a similarity, between this tala and Adi tala. In both 
there are three tattus. Thus when Adi tala is rendered with 
only the tattus executed in a pronounced way, it sounds like Desadi 
tala. But the durations Desadi tala is taken to be four aksaras. 

The compositions set in Desadi tala invariably commence in 
the viccu after a lapse of ^aksara. For exampie, (he krti 'Entavedu- 
kondu in Sarasvatim anohari raga is set in Desadi tala. 

,a » u Tattu Viccu Tattu 

;»*E ntavedu 
Kon..du .ragha va„* 

ihe tala is enjoined in the following way too. In this case 
the same ouration of the song has two avarta-s of tala associated 
with it. 

Tattu Tattu Viccu Tatfu 

* E ntave 

• du ko .ndu .ra 
, Qha vfl • 

84 701 

In modern times the krti is papularly rendered in Adi tala as 
shown below. The commencement of the krti takes place in the 
laghu but after \ \ aksaras. 

I 1 4 i 0 { 0 

I ; , * En tave. du j ko. ndu | .ra. gha 

I | | 

5. Madhyadi tala : As for as the structure of Madhyadi tala 
is concerned, it is identical to that of Desadi tala. The difference 
lies in the eduppu or graha of the tala from which the compositions 
set in it commence. 

In other words there are four time units of uniform duration 
and four kriyas, two tattus, one viccu and one tattu. The songs 
set in this tala commence in the viccu after a lasp of | aksarakala. 
Krtis like 'Merusamana' in Mayamalavagaura, Namakusumamulace- 
in Sriraga are set in Madhyadi tala. 

Viccu Tattu 


In this lesson we have tried to understand mainly 

1) the nature of tala, 

2) the function of tala, 

3) the technical terms associated with. the element of tala, 

4) the sapta talas, thirty five tala-s and their structure, 

Tattu Ta{tu 
ma... . . * 

5) the structures of Misracapu, Khandacapu, Rupaka (short) 
Desadi and Madhyadi talas. 


Notation Used in Indian Music 

The method of writting down music in script form is cullnd 
Notation. Here, the various features of music as Raga, Svaro, 
Tala, Gameka etc are represented by means of signs, symbols and 
letters. By reading this script, we will have an idea about tho 
nature of musical and rhythmic content of a composition. 

The Indian system of Notation is called SRGM notation, 
because the music is written with the Solfa letters (SRGMPDN). 
Following the Svaras, we can learn how the melody runs in a com 
position and how it has been embedded in a Tala. The Raga and 
Tala are mentioned at the top of the script, along with the Arohana 
and Avarohana of a Raga :- 

Let us now examine how musical notes and musical timing:! 
are indicated in a musical script. When the Raga of the piece i<; 
known immediately, notes taken by the Raga are understood. Any 
musical piece can be translated into svara-form. Infact tho 
Sahilhya or textual content of a composition is r. oulded on the 
Svara-content. Svaras are the frame which fixes the music of the 
Sahithya. The letters s r g m p d n - represent the seven svaras, 
Shadja, Rihabha and so on and they are placed in the Madhye 
Sthayi as we see them. If any note belongs to Tarasthayi, a dot 
" & " is placed on top of it and any swara in atitara sthayi will carry 
two dots -" t> ". When a^dot is placed below the note, it wil| 
indicate Mandra sthayi-"h" and two dots will be placed when 
the notes are in Anumandra sthayi-"b". s~ smaller Roman letter 
will refer to sa with unit-time of one Aksharakala and capital 's' will 
have two Aksharakalas. 

As for symbols and signs, a comma ( , ) is used to indicate 
one Aksharakala or £ time measure, semicolan ( ; ) represents 2 
Aksharakalas and £ unit-time-measure, a semicolan and a comma 
(;, ) written beside each other will have a duration of | time- 
measure. It will be a guide to know where the Eduppu of an 
avartam is and the reader of the script can keep to the duration of 
the svaras is every line when he has to learn a piece from the 




notation. When a horizontal line is placed over svaras, the speed 
ot the svaras. e.g. when s n d p - will have four Aksharakalas 
■vfidP - will have only 2 Aksharakalas. Two lines on top of the 
svaras will reduce the Aksharakalas by half again (e.g.; jndP will 
have only 1 Aksharakala. The first is in Prathama Chowka kala, the 
-second in Second Madhyama Kala and the third in Third Duritha or 
fast speed. The variety of notes will be recognised by the number 
beside it as r,, r 2 , r 3 etc. In a Bhashanga Raga,' the anya 
svara used is marked with an'asterisk. (*) within^brakets after an 
avarta, indicates the avarta must be repeated. Hyphens are used 
for phrasings i.e. a group of notes within two hyphens, should be 
played or sung continuously. Wavy lines^are used for gamakas, to 
indicate which svaras must be shaken. Ascending and descending 
lines reveal, how in the process of sounding a nore, we move from 
a different note either above or below it. When a note is to be 
stressed the sign 'W is placed over it. 

How are avartams of a Tale illustrated by the symbols. A 
laghu or finger counting is represented by a vertical line with the 
lypo of Jathi written beside it. e.g. /3. Tisra laghu. 

Drutam is written down with a circle (0), Anudrutam with a 
crescent as (._) double bar // is used at the ciose of the avarta 
e «md laghu and Drutams and Anudrutarn is an avarta are divided by 
a vertical line. An avartam will be written down as 

,'4 0 o 
"* s r g m / p d / n s 

hi Aditalam which is also called Chatusrajathi Thriputa 
^ 'I iilum. The device of naming the note variety by resorting to 
' vowel changes in its sound has existed as Ra, Ri and Ru in India 
Conturos back. Kudimiyamalai inscriptions bear testimony to that. 
(Pallnva period inscriphons). 

The Western system of writing music is called Staff Notation. 
I toru the music is written on five parallel lines, each line standing 
(hi u no to and thj space between the two lines indicates the note lalls between the notes that are represented on the two lines. 

I) V I C A B, stands for Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da and Ni of the 
Himkarnbharanam Scale which is called the Major Scale. When a 
■»viti» incrt'ar.os in pitch, the accentuated note is represented with 

- inn / wh ch is; called sharp. For e.g. 'F sharp will be written 
«* I / Whon rule ii dminised in pitch it is called flat and the sign 
t> will Mo atlticliud to it (o n) Eb wil I)j rodusod E. Bass, alto and 

m Vtown iiMMfuid ini'ihi !t/»(itn F u.ininil w,ll him ii% ullottecl 

I'll ' I lllltt Will III I f ll (llinl Ii/ ((,1 i >IMIll'< 


Harmony, melody and Polyphony 

Harmony, melody and polyphony : 

Harmony and Melody are two forms of musical expression, 
each having its own value of musical importance. In harmony 
music progresses in a succession of groups of notes called chords. 
It is perfect harmonising in concordance to produce a wholesome 
effect. In this form of plural melodies one will be a main melody 
and notes in the mould ot eaui chord, which accompany the main 
line will be in definite and perfect relationship with one another. 
Naturally the chords and the main melody in combination will 
produce an impressive musical effect. They have their fractional 
musical timings called quiver, minim etc. 

Melody •• 

It is a tune on which a succession of notes, in a line, produce 
a mellifulous tone. No two notes are sounded together when a 
melodic tune is sung. It is called single line melody. Indian 
musical system has excelled in developing this system. The Indian 
raga, whicn is but an elaboration of a melody based on particular 
scale, is proof of this development. 


Polyphony : 

Is a type of music where several melodies, all of equal 
importance, are in combination, each having its individual recogni- 
tion when simultaneously performed. 



.uo ctmrture of a sahithya on the 
The m«« ^ called p^dica! 

content o a musical comp ^ ^ ,„ , h , 

fiances to a ■»'»■ ln a sani , h ya ate pada. Prasa. 


. in Arti Tala the Pada may be of ona or 
* C TRopa k n a Th "po I'd Chapu Ta,.n, a Pada. n,ay 

Examples : 

Mariyad, gathura in Sankatabnaranam one avattam 
Ma danakiChetta pa.,aga-in Kannboii - in Karnboii in two 

^Bakthi bapyasuda-indayamanoha, Rupaka t- ■ 4 

„.r~=-".r;. ssssssr; 

,„ A di Ta,a composite we can jt *. 

giV es us the clue that the pada .s of two avartas. 

" The second syllable in a ^\^> 
dviriiyawshara prasa or Adi prasa. It >» called Etnug 



in Tamil. In this prasa, there is corresponding similarity of the 
second letter in all the lines of the stanza. Example Todudaiya, 
Kadudaiya. Antya Prasa - means that the rhymes at the end of 
the lines are alike. Example : Dikshithar, Jayadeve. 

Anuprasa repetition of similar letters. Daksha Sikshane, etc. 
in Muthuswamy Dikeshthar's Krithi in Sankarabaranam, Balakan- 
ekamaya of Tyagaraja in Atana and many more. 

The recurring sound of anuprasa letters increases the beauty 
of the piece and accentuates its charm. 


The alliterating initial syllables of the avartas are called 
Yatis. It is called 'Monai' (Gurr ernes) in Tamil, Ramaswamy Sivan, 
brother of Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer got the title 'Monai Singam' 
because he excellad in composing Yati patterns. Prasa Yati is a 
variety of Yati, where the Prasa letter is used to fill the void 
created by the absence of the Yati. It is commonly used in padyas 
and other varieties of verses. Yamakam is another means of decora- 
ting the sahithya. Here the same letter will be repeated but each 
time it will be joined with other words to become quite a responsi- 
ble feature. Padagarbam and Padachadam are means of dividing 
the pallavi. It helps to divide ; the first half of the Pallavi from the 
rest of the Pallavi. . 

Manipravafa sahithya, in a musical reference to mrany langu- 
ages in the Sahithya, some of the compositions of Diksitar are 
of this type. 

When a svara and the letter in the^sahithya carry the same 
sound, it is also cal|ed svarkashara. 

* j pa da sa sa ni da pa 
( pa da sa ro ia 

* pa da sa - common to svara and sahithya of the 
piece is svarakshara. 

Prasa, Yati, Yamaka, Manipravala, Sahithya, Svarakashoro, 
Srotovaha and Gopucha Yatis and even Padagar ba und Pudnchndo 

90 701 

.bautifying tha text of a m j>ical pieoa and may ba callad d»corative * 
features in a mirsical composition. 

In srotovaka alaiikararo the begining of the sahitya, the phra- 
sing will be short and will enlarge and widen itself like the river 
which widens when it reaches the Sea. 


*sn/ffl vTGiisiiG? 
&(TL& <y@ifl sreueuGrr 

r$rrLn&ni3 (jj-s-rf) Qujsi/suGp 

Gopucha alankaram will b3 broad in th.9 beginning and will 
r educ3 its width step by stop, till it comas tapering towards the 
end like the tail of a cow. (e.c) 

Tyagaraja Yoga vaibhavam 

v Agraja Yoga vaibhavam 

Rajayog3 vaibhavam 

Yoga vaibhavam 




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